If you walk into a truck factory with robots, hoping to see robots assembling parts like Transformers on TV, you will be disappointed. Because modern industrial robots are more like ordinary machines and far less like humans. So why do we call it ‘robot’ instead of ‘automatic working machine’? Because robot is a special kind of automatic machine, it can not only do specific work, but also can be adjusted and programmed to complete many different jobs. This kind of programmability and multi-functional adaptability just explain why all robots can be regarded as automated machines, and not all automated machines are robots.
There is only one definition of industrial robot that is generally accepted internationally. It was proposed by a group of industrial scientists of the American Robot Industry Association in 1979. They define industrial robots as: ｀ a multifunctional operating mechanism that can be programmed to transport materials, parts, tools, or special equipment in accordance with pre-programmed motion programs that can perform a variety of tasks. ‘Let’s take a closer look at this definition and understand its exact meaning.
The first keyword group is ‘programmable’. The implication is that a robot is a machine whose program can be programmed not only once, but also as many times as needed. Many electronic devices we use every day have programmable computer chips. For example, a program is programmed inside the chip of an electronic digital alarm clock, and it is instructed to play a song of “Friendship forever” as an alarm bell, but these programs cannot be changed at random, and the owner is not allowed to enter new programs by himself. For example, even if you are tired of ‘friendship for a long time’, you cannot store another favorite song in the clock, because its program is fixed internally. The robot program can be inserted, that is, it can be changed, added or deleted according to the user’s wishes. A robot can have multiple programs that do different things in any order. Of course, in order to be reprogrammable, a robot must have a computer that can enter new instructions and information. The computer can be ‘portable’, that is, the computer’s control board is installed on the robot; or ‘outside’, that is, the computer that controls the robot, and can be placed anywhere outside the robot’s body under the condition of ensuring communication with the robot. ．
The second key word in the definition is ‘multifunction’. The meaning is: The robot is multi-purpose, and can perform a variety of tasks. For example, a robot for laser cutting can be used for welding, painting or device operation with a slight change in its terminal tool.
The third key word is ‘operating mechanism’. Its meaning is: When the robot works, a mechanism to move the work object is needed. Just as a robot differs from other automated machines in its program reprogrammability and versatility, the difference between a robot and a computer is that it has an operating mechanism.
Finally, let us study the meaning of ‘multiple pre-programmed action programs’. Its meaning is: Robot work is in a dynamic process, that is, continuous production activities are its main characteristics.
Although this definition seems quite abstract and somewhat ambiguous, it does distinguish industrial robots from fixed-program automation machines, unlike multi-functional machines like food processors that only need to change accessories to complete the seasoning to the filling. Open. At the same time, it also makes robots far from the category of science fiction novels, because in the final analysis, whether robots can have any human characteristics depends on human creativity.
Through this discussion, we can regard robots as a reasonable and significant progress in the development of automated machinery. We have developed a single-function production machine controlled by humans into an unmanned multi-function machine. The industrial revolution is considered to be a new era in the creation of robots: we are studying to equip robots with ‘eyes’ so that it has artificial intelligence, will ‘learn’ and adapt to changes in the environment.