basics of a robotics system: for dummies by a much bigger dummy [general robotics knowledge]
So the question comes up a lot, what is a robot even made of what are the components, and how do they go together and interact? Now the initial plan was for me to make a whole post on what a robot is, how it works and etc, but really HowStuffWorks did a pretty good job explaining the basics of a robot (read/skim through this before reading-on):
What I will do, though, is kind of hit a few kew points you should know about robots and what you need to learn to start building robots. I'm not going to spend much time on pictures and etc and detailed explanations, I just want to direct you to the right resources!
So a robot, like said above, is very hard to define, but a good quote that came up the other day was "what is robotics but applied mechatronics?" (Mechatronics being the combination of mechanical, electrical, and computing systems to perform a task).
Robots generally have a central computer that does really one main thing. First, it takes input from "sensors" that read the environment and tell the computer things about the robot's surroundings. The computer "processes" the sensor input and uses it to make decisions like where the robot needs to go and if it needs to stop, and how it should move its motors. And then lastly, it has output devices (motors and such) which allow the robot to interact with the environment. So the flow is environment-->sensors-->decision-->interaction with environment and then the cycle starts all over again.
Getting more low level, you start to get into things like all devices in the robot need power, so there's some form of power distribution system and a battery required. You get into all things need to communicate with each other, so there's some form of communication system needed. You get into things like what sensors and motors do I need to do what I want to do? Different sensors are good for different applications. It's impossible to cover all of robotics in one post and I won't try to!
Here are some places to look:
https://www.robotshop.com/community/tutorials/show/how-to-make-a-robot-lesson-1-getting-started --> this is the RobotShop how to make a robot series, 10 lessons on what robots are and how to make them.
https://www.arduino.cc --> this is Arduino, a good platform for building robots. It might be good to google "cool Arduino robot projects" and things to see what you can get started with!
https://docs.wpilib.org/en/latest/ --> this is the setup page for FIRST robotics! FRC is a competition where a bunch of big robots compete against each other. The parts of this long guide you want to read are pretty much just: https://docs.wpilib.org/en/latest/docs/getting-started/getting-started-frc-control-system/control-system-hardware.html, because it give you an idea of what goes into a real robot and what those things do.
Other than that, my best best best recommendation to learn more about robots is to GO BUILD SOME ROBOTS. There are so many good tutorials online and such and lessons. Start with Arduino robots, work your way to more interesting ones. Ask a lot of questions, see what other people are building and just go for it!
Here's another good place to look to get started: https://robohub.org/how-to-get-started-and-progress-in-robotics-a-quick-guide-for-kids-and-adults/
Hope to see you as a fellow robot nerd :) If you have any questions - contact us! If you build something cool - also send it to us! We want to see it! And post it!