Sunday, March 6, 2011

ROBOTICS “FUTURE APPLICATIONS IN INDUSTRIAL AND MEDICAL STREAMS”

ROBOTICS “FUTURE APPLICATIONS

IN INDUSTRIAL AND MEDICAL STREAMS


ABSTRACT

Robotics is the science and technology of robots, their design, manufacture, and application. Robotics requires a working knowledge of electronics, mechanics, and software and a person working in the field has become known as a roboticist.

Robots are being employed in a wide assortment of applications in recent days. Today most of the applications are in manufacturing to move materials, parts and tools of various types. Future applications will include non-manufacturing tasks, such as construction work, exploration of space, and medical care. At some time in distant future, a household robot may become a mass produced item.

The objective of this paper is to provide some information in this fascinating field. The main purpose is to describe some of the research and development that is presently taking place and to estimate some of the future advances in robotic technology.

We anticipate that robots of the future will be richly endowed with better sensor capabilities, which would permit the robot to be more aware of its environment, to communicate with human operators more readily, and to make use of higher level of intelligence.

Robotics is a technology that can be harnessed only for the benefit of humankind. But like other technologies, there are potential dangers involved, and safe guards must be instituted to prevent its harmful usage. It is suggested that developing a robot with a conscience may be helpful in this regard.

The future technology of robotics and the potential applications in industrial and medical fields, which this technology will bring, the difficulty in the application of robotics is the subject of discussion of this paper.

KEY WORDS:

Industrial applications, Auto Industry, Material transfer, Machine loading and unloading, Robots and human machine interface, Robotic arm, Manufacturing, Hazardous and inaccessible environments, Service industries, Parallel parker, Medical applications, Robots for paralyzed patients, Laws of robotics, Limitation of robotics.

INTRODUCTION

The field of robotics has its origins in science fictions. The word robot comes from the Czech word "robota", meaning, and “forced labor" in 1920. It took another 40 years before the modern technology of industrial robotics began. Today, robots are highly automated mechanical manipulators controlled by computers.

A robot may appear like a human being or an animal or a simple electro-mechanical device. A robot may act under the direct control of a human (e.g. the robotic arm of the space shuttle) or autonomously under the control of a programmed computer.

Robots may be used to perform tasks that are too dangerous or difficult for humans to implement directly (e.g. nuclear waste clean up) or may be used to automate repetitive tasks that can be performed more cheaply by a robot than by the employment of a human (e.g. automobile production) or may be used to automate mindless repetitive tasks that should be performed with more precision by a robot than by a human(material handling, material transfer applications, machine loading and unloading, processing operations, assembly and inspection) Specifically, robot can be used to describe an intelligent mechanical device in the form of a human. This form of robot culturally referred to as androids.

An industrial robot is a reprogrammable, multifunctional manipulator designed to move materials, parts, tools, or special devices through variable program motions for the performance of a variety of tasks.

The medical applications of robotics include Nano robotics, (Nano robotics is the technology of creating machines or robots at or close to the scale of a nanometer (10-9 meters)) swarm robotics (Swarm robotics is a new approach to the coordination of multirobot systems, which consist of large numbers of relatively simple physical robots), also surgeries and operations using the knowledge of robotics.

Much of the work that is done in hospitals by nurses, nurse’s aids, orderlies, and technicians is clerical and routine. Robots are likely to perform some of the works in future. Some of the hospital functions that might be automated include delivering linens, making beds, clerical duties such as entering patient records into computer file, delivering medicines and supplies from the hospital pharmacy and central supply and transporting patients for different services in the building.

Nearly all of the present applications of robots are in industrial situations. In future, robot applications will no doubt extend to fields outside of manufacturing. The possibilities include hazardous work environments, defense applications, space exploration, and undersea operations. There are also opportunities for robots to be used in service industries, in restaurants, hospitals, garbage collections, and similar activities.

It may be possible biologically to create a being by manufacturing a genome that had the genes necessary for a human brain, and to inject this into a suitable host germ cell. Such a creature, when implanted and born from a suitable womb, would very possibly be conscious and artificial

DESCRIPTION

It may be possible biologically to create a being by manufacturing a genome that had the genes necessary for a human brain, and to inject this into a suitable host germ cell. Such a creature, when implanted and born from a suitable womb, would very possibly be conscious and artificial.

A typical planner takes three inputs: a description of the initial state of the world, a description of the desired goal, and a set of possible actions all encoded in a formal language such as STRIPS. (Stanford Research Institute Problem Solver) Their automated planning and scheduling from the knowledge of artificial intelligence can control the actions of robots

CURRENT APPLICATIONS

INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS

Industrial robots are used to assemble the vehicle parts, as shown in the figure. As the assembly of the machine parts is a repetitive task to be performed, the robots are conveniently used instead of using mankind (which is more costly and less précised compared to robots.).

AUTO INDUSTRY:

The auto industry is the largest users of robots, which automate the production of various components and then help, assemble them on the finished vehicle. Car production is the primary example of the employment of large and complex robots for producing products. Robots are used in that process for the painting, welding and assembly of the cars. Robots are good for such tasks because the tasks can be accurately defined and must be performed the same every time, with little need for feedback to control the exact process being performed.

MATERIAL TRANSFER , MACHINE LOADING AND UNLOADING

There are many robot applications in which the robot is required to move a work part or other material from one location to another. The most basic of these applications is where the robot picks the part up from one position and transfers it to another position. In other applications, the robot is used to load and/or unload a production machine of some type.

Material transfer applications are defined as operations in which the primary objective is to move a part from one location to another location. They are usually considered to be among the most straightforward of robot applications to implement. The applications usually require a relatively unsophisticated robot, and interlocking requirements with other equipments are typically uncomplicated. These are the pick ad place operations. The machine loading and unloading applications are material handling operations in which the robot is used to service a production machine by transferring parts to and/or from the machine.

Robots have been successfully applied to accomplish the loading and/or unloading function in the production operations:

· Die casting

· Plastic molding

· Forging and related operations

· Machining operations

· Stamping press operations

The other industrial applications of robotics include processing operations such as spot welding, continuous arc welding; spray coating, also in assembly of machine parts and their inspection.

ROBOTIC ARM

The most developed robot in practical use today is the robotic arm and it is seen in applications throughout the world. We use robotic arms to carry out dangerous work such as when dealing with hazardous materials. We use robotic arms to carry out work in outer space where man cannot survive and we use robotic arms to do work in the medical field such as conducting experiments without exposing the research. Some of the most advanced robotic arms have such amenities as a rotating base, pivoting shoulder, pivoting elbow, rotating wrist and gripper fingers. All of these amenities allow the robotic arm to do work that closely resembles what a man can do only without the risk.

MEDICAL APPLICATIONS

                                           Medical robotics is a growing field and regulatory approval has been granted for the use of robots in minimally invasive procedures. Robots are being used in performing highly delicate, accurate surgery, or to allow a surgeon who is located remotely from their patient to perform a procedure using a robot controlled remotely. More recently, robots can be used autonomously in surgery.
 
FUTURE APPLICATIONS

We can theorize a likely profile of the future robot based on the various research activities that are currently being performed. The features and capabilities of the future robot will include the following (it is unlikely that all future robots will possess all of the features listed).

•Intelligence: The future robot will be an intelligent robot, capable of making decisions about the task it performs based on high-level programming commands and feed back data from its environment.

•Sensor capabilities: the robot will have a wide array of sensor capabilities including vision, tactile sensing, and others. Progress is being made in the field of feedback and tactile sensors, which allow a robot to sense their actions and adjust their behavior accordingly. This is vital to enable robots to perform complex physical tasks that require some active control in response to the situation. Robotic manipulators can be very precise, but only when a task can be fully described.

•Tele presence: it will possess a tele presence capability, the ability to communicate information about its environment (which may be unsafe for humans) back to a remote” safe” location where humans will be able to make judgments and decisions about actions that should be taken by the robots.

•Mechanical design: the basic design of the robot manipulator will be mechanically more efficient, more reliable, and with improved power and actuation systems compared to present day robots. Some robots will have multiple arms with advanced control systems to coordinate the actions of the arms working together. The design of robot is also likely to be modularized, so that robots for different purposes can be constructed out of components that are fairly standard.

•Mobility and navigation: future robots will be mobile, able to move under their own power and navigation systems.

•Universal gripper: robot gripper design will be more sophisticated, and universal hands capable of multiple tasks will be available.

•Systems integration and networking: robots of the future will be “user friendly” and capable of being interfaced and networked with other systems in the factory to achieve a very high level of integration.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS

We will divide our presentation of future industrial applications into three areas:

· Manufacturing

· Hazardous and inaccessible environments,

· Service industries

FUTURE MANUFACTURING APPLICATIONS

The present biggest application areas for industrial robots are in the spot-welding and the materials handling and machine loading categories. The handling of materials and machine tending are expected to continue to represent important applications for robots, but the relative importance of spot welding is expected to decline significantly. The most significant growth in shares of manufacturing applications is expected to be in assembly and inspection and in arc welding.

The area of assembly in which robots are expected to be used is in batch production operations. In the mass production of relatively simple products
(e.g. flash lights, pens, and other mechanical products with fewer than ten components), robots will probably never be able to compete with fixed automation in terms of speed and through put rates. A large field of applications for programmable assembly systems using robot technologies is electronic technology.

Robotic welding is one of the most successful applications of industrial robot manipulators. In fact, a huge number of products require welding operations in their assembly processes.

Welding can in most cases impose extremely high temperatures concentrated in small zones. Physically, that makes the material experience extremely high and localized thermal expansion and contraction cycles, which introduce changes in the materials that may affect its mechanical behavior along with plastic deformation. Those changes must be well understood in order to minimize the effects.

The majority of industrial welding applications benefit from the introduction of robot manipulators, since most of the deficiencies attributed to the human factor is removed with advantages when robots are introduced. This should lead to cheaper products since productivity and quality can be increased, and production costs and manpower can be decreased.

HAZARDOUS AND INACCESSIBLE NONMANUFACTURING ENVIRONMENTS

Manual operations in manufacturing that are characterized as unsafe, hazardous, uncomfortable, or unpleasant for the human workers who perform them have traditionally been ideal candidates for robot applications. Examples include die-casting, hot forging, spray-painting, and arc welding. Potential manufacturing robot applications that are in hazardous or inaccessible environments include the following:

· Construction trades

· Underground Coal mining: The sources of dangers in this field for humans include fires, explosions, poisonous gases, cave-ins, and underground floods.

· Hazardous utility company operations: The robots have a large scope of application in the nuclear wastage cleaning in nuclear plants, in the electrical wiring, which are dangerous and hazardous to humans.

· Military applications

· Fire fighting

· Undersea operations: The Ocean represents a rather hostile environment for human beings due principally to extreme pressures and currents. Even when the humans venture into the deep, they are limited in terms of mobility and the length of time they can remain underwater. It seems much safer and more comfortable to assign aquatic robots to perform whatever task must be done underwater.

· Robots in space: Space is another inhospitable environment for humans, in some respects the opposite of the ocean. Instead of extremely high pressures in deep waters, there is virtually no pressure in outer space. Therefore, this field is also of large importance as far as the robotics is concerned.

SERVICE INDUSTRY AND OTHER APPLICATIONS:

In addition to manufacturing robot applications, robot applications that are considered hazardous, there are also opportunities for applying robots to the service industries. The possibilities cover a wide spectrum of jobs that are generally non-hazardous:

· Teaching robots

· Retail robots

· Fast-food restaurants

· Bank tellers

· Garbage collection in waste disposal operations

· Cargo handling and loading and distribution operations

· Security guards

· Medical care and hospital duties

· Agricultural robots

· House hold robots

PARALLEL PARKER

The idea behind the parallel parker project is to design and build an autonomous miniature automobile robot that can detect a parking space and then park into the space effectively. The robot is controlled with a handy board micro controller and is equipped with seven infrared sensors used to measure distances and to detect obstacles along its path and two Lego motors.

The main goal was to design an autonomous miniature automobile robot that can parallel park. To achieve this we have to design a mini car model, equip it with the necessary sensors and apply an algorithm to the micro controller to output the desired result.

MEDICAL APPLICATIONS

The medical applications of robotics include Nano robotics, swarm robotics, also surgeries and operations using the knowledge of robotics.

Nano robotics is the technology of creating machines or robots at or close to the scale of a nanometer (10-9 meters). Nanorobots (nanobots or nanoids) are typically devices ranging in size from 0.1-10 micrometers and constructed of nanoscale or molecular components. As no artificial non-biological nanorobots have so far been created, they remain a hypothetical concept at this time.

Swarm robotics is a new approach to the coordination of multirobot systems, which consist of large numbers of relatively simple physical robots. Potential application for swarm robotics includes tasks that demand for extreme miniaturization (Nano robotics, microbotics), on the one hand, as for instance distributed sensing tasks in micro machinery or the human body. On the other hand, swarm robotics is suited to tasks that demand for extremely cheap designs, for instance a mining task, or an agricultural foraging task. Artists are using swarm robotic techniques to realize new forms of interactive art installation. Further research is needed to find methodologies that allow for designing, and reliably predicting, swarm behavior

ROBOTS FOR PARALYZED PATIENTS

One of the interesting and concerning future applications of robotics in medical field include service to paralyzed people who electric wheelchairs to move around. But now a robotic device can help paralyzed patients to walk on treadmills. After training, some of the patients, who rebuild confidence, have also regained muscle power and can, walk over short distances. The robot helps the paralyzed patients in their daily routine such as helping them to take bath, changing their clothes, and feeding them. A robot doesn’t force food into their mouth but it takes the spoon to till the patient’s mouth.

LIMITATIONS

Although robots have not developed to the stage where they pose any threat or danger to society, fears and concerns about robots have been repeatedly expressed. The principal theme is the robots' intelligence and ability to act could exceed that of humans, that they could develop a conscience and a motivation to take over or destroy the human race.

Currently, malicious programming or unsafe use of robots may be the biggest danger. Although industrial robots may be smaller and less powerful than other industrial machines, they are just as capable of inflicting severe injury on humans. However, since a robot can be programmed to move in different trajectories depending on its task, its movement can be unpredictable for a person standing in its reach. Therefore, most industrial robots operate inside a security fence, which separates them from human workers.

Humans are at a critical and significant juncture where humans have allowed robots, "smart missiles," and autonomous bombs equipped with artificial perception to make decisions about killing us. This represents an important and dangerous trend where humans are transferring more of our cognitive structures into our machines. Even without malicious programming, a robot, especially a future model moving freely in a human environment, is potentially dangerous because of its large moving masses, powerful actuators and unpredictably complex behavior. A robot falling on someone or just stepping on his foot by mistake could cause much more damage to the victim than a human being of the same size.

There are, theoretically, some LAWS OF ROBOTICS.

The Laws of Robotics were developed by a small group of scientists who believe that robotics is the wave of the future.

· The first law, referred to as law zero, is that a robot may not injure humanity, or, though inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.

· The second law states that a robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm, unless this would violate a higher order law. This law was created so that mankind would seek not to create robots that would harm people.

· The third law is that a robot must obey orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with a higher order law.

· And finally the final law is that a robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with a higher order law. How ever many people don’t know that these laws really exist.

Almost all the limitations of robotics could be overcome by following these laws of robotics.

CONCLUSION

Robotics is a technology with a future, and is a technology for the future. If present trends continue, and if some of the laboratory research currently underway is ultimately converted into practicable technology, robots of future will be mobile units with one or more arms, multiple sensor capabilities and the computational and data processing power of today’s mainframe computers. They will be able to respond to human voice command. They will be able to receive general instructions and will translate those instructions using artificial intelligence into a specific set of actions required to carry them out. In short, future robots will have many of the attributes of human beings.

Getting from the present to the future will require much work in mechanical engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, industrial engineering, materials technology, manufacturing systems engineering, and the social sciences. A combination of economic and technical factors will determine how the future applications will be introduced. Although there is significant development in the science of robots, still its usage is limited due to high cost of production, less availability of resources. If we can overcome these limitations, more benefits can be gained from robotics.

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