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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Robotics Projects for Engineering Students

An Introduction to Programming Robots

A robot requires to be programmed; it is basic instructions on what it is supposed to execute. This is because without programming, the robot is considered as a machine without inbuilt intelligence.

What is Robotic Programming?

Robotics programming is basically assigning a set of instructions for the robot to execute. The programming is responsible for the artificial intelligence fed into the robots system.

Robotics Programming Language

Most robots are programmed from scratch while others are embedded with a pre-existing programming framework.

  • RAIL - Considered the best programming language for robotics projects that require manipulation and vision.
  • AML - Acronym for a Manufacturing Language, it was developed by the IBM Corporation. It is a sub-routine and implemented to manage assembly robots and Cartesian arm for hydraulic machines.
  • VAL - Acronym for Variable Assembly Language which is designed with a simple syntax, hence, can be used by anyone.
  • AL - AL robot language is a product of the Stanford University Artificial Lab, hence the initials. Also, based on Pascal, it incorporates a big mainframe computer and several hardware components like memory and a floating processor. 
  • RPL - It was designed by SRI International and can be used by an unskilled programmer because of its simple syntax. It is designed for checking, improving and correcting control algorithms. 
Where to find Robot Programming Code?
Programming code can be bought or comes with a robotics kit from the manufacturer. In some instances, it is embedded in the robot before assembly. In the case of assembly from scratch, software manufacturers offer other simple programs that are also as effective.

Our Robots
Since 1980, we have ventured into expanding our consumer base and product range, while giving back to the educational community. We also venture to supply engineering students and other hobbyists in their various areas of specialty; robotics and solar technology.

Types of Projects Completed by Robotic Engineering Students
Previous models of robots are in our midst; we might not fully realize when the interaction happens, but they have become an integral part of our society today. These robots are the previous brain children of engineering students who worked hard to make our society better and more convenient.
  • Line Follower - This type of robot has a sensor embedded in its system or chassis and it is programmed to seek a predetermined line, hence the name. The line guides the robots to do an iterative job, hence creating a routine. A good example is the Weasel robot.
  • Obstacle Avoidance - This robot employs the phenomena of insect like antennas. These antennas help the robot to avoid obstacles by changing direction. 
  • BEAM Robots -  The acronym BEAM, stands for Biology, Electronics, Aesthetic and Mechanics. They mimic real living creatures; a good example is the Salt Water Fuel Cell Giant Arachnoid Kit.
New Robotic Project Ideas
Engineers can use the existing knowledge on robotics to come up with new types of robots for new applications. Some exquisite ideas include:
  • Voice operated fire detecting and extinguishing robot equipped with a camera and vocal processors that can be controlled offsite. In addition, it should have a sprinkler to extinguish fire based on voice commands.
  • Mobile phone controlled robot; for scheduling tasks like one would by calling home or work. Can use both text or voice calls to receive messages.
We have some of these robots already in the pipeline at Feel free to check them out and experience it yourself!


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