Since man did not have wings, he created aircraft, he lacked fins to swim so man made submarines, and he could not run as fast so he developed motor vehicles.  But why Robots? Perhaps man is aware of his frailties. He knows that he is not perfect.

Science has gifted our lives with ease, comfort, innovation and lust, to keep desiring more. Robotics is one such branch which the scientists are exploring to make our lives all the more comfortable. Robotics is a science that has seen many recent developments. According to the Robotics Institute of America, robot is defined as, “re- programmable multi- functional manipulator; designed to move materials, parts, tools or specialized devices through variable programmed motions for the performance of a variety of tasks.” The concept of robots was imagined in the 15th century and today, robotics has become a huge branch with immense research work going on in this field.

The main focus of the scientists is to make robots as workable as humans are and instill in them the quality to think. Today, robots have made our lives easier by proving useful  in fields such as military, medical, space, industry and household. Space shuttles, planetary rovers, building and repairing space stations frequently use robotic arms for best results. Medical applications include invasive surgery and surgical stimulations by robots. Robots are being frequently used in hazardous conditions and places where it is difficult for humans to execute a task, for e.g., crash testing and recovery operations in disaster struck areas.

Robots have also found application in more consumer based tasks like taking care of elderly and disabled, especially helping them in household tasks like washing and rinsing. Entertainment by robots is on an increase especially in Japan. Domestic robots known as “Home Helpers” can be used for vacuum cleaning and even for serving guests. These “home helpers” are making work at home faster, enjoyable and flawless.

The first use of robot was made in 1961 to lift hot pieces of metal from a die casting machine. Ever since, commercial and industrial robots have been mushrooming not only in developed but also in developing countries.

The challenge that robotics faces today is to invent a robot which can easily manipulate the objects it , recognize speech and gestures of humans to execute a particular chore and  makes it easy for the user to interact with it. For this “effectors” and “voice input system” are being upgraded by the scientists.

The invention of this artificial human is being hugely appreciated by their natural counterparts. Days are not far when we will find robots buying grocery from a departmental store  or babysitting when the mistress is out of the house or entertaining the home mates on a weekend or perhaps managing our homes, offices and social circles. Today, just as we cannot imagine our lives without a computer or a mobile phone, odds are in favor that future might become impossible without these moving computers.

Juhi Gupta

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