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Robots: A History: Every day Robots

Taking Tasks, but not Taking Over

From libraries to laboratorise, from the mega to the mundane, robotic technology is being integrated into our every day lives whether we realize it or not! Here are a few examples of modern day machines that uses robotic technology.


The roomba is a computerized, self-guided vacuum that operates on a series of preprogrammed actions and guidelines. Following a track pattern that seems completely random to human eyes, the roomba moves itself around the room with the help of touch photocell sensors. The photocell sensor uses an infrared beam to detect objects before the roomba runs into them in order to slow down the robot prior to impact. Infrared beams are also used on the bottom of the robot to detect changes in the surface- carpet to hardwood, bumps and ridges, etc., so that the bot knows to raise or lower the vacuum face. The touch sensor is the one that will bring the bot to an immediate stop if the robot happens to run into anything. The other sensor that the roomba utilizes is one called a piezoelectric sensor. This is the sensor that lets the roomba monitor how dirty the floor is. A piezoelectric sensor is essentially a crystal that generates electric impulses. These pulses are bounced back to the roomba when they hit something, letting the bot know where the dirt is.
If you want to learn more about the roomba & its technology, you can also check out the US patent!

Filmmaker Werner Herzog, of Grizzy Man and Encounters at the Edge of the World fame, debuted his most recent documentary at the Sundance Festival in January 2016. 
In Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World, Herzog explores the creation and history of the internet, computers, and the society shaped around them. While the internet itself isn't a "robotic" technology, its creation and development constantly expand the horizons that technology can explore in order to further robotic research.

These robotic bartenders, currently in use by several cruise lines, are programmed with hundreds of drink recipes, measurements, and styles, making mixing drinks look much simpler than it actually is. While they certainly aren't Brian Flanagan, these bots make ordering a drink a lot less of a headache!

Robots come in all shapes and sizes, and have purposes that can vary from a vacuum to a bartender to "just because science can!" The team at BioRob (Biorobotics Laboratory) at the École Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne have been experimenting with an amphibious robot modeled after a salamander. They've dubbed the project "Pleurobot," and you can visit the project site by clicking here!  

Of course, one of the coolest things about scientific research and experiments is your ability to create cool toys. In this case, the crew at MegaBots, Inc., decided that building 15 foot tall arena fighting humanoid robots are the coolest toys.