November 22, 1999

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Robot Facts Robot Links Robotics Home


What are Robots?
Robot comes from the Czech word 'robota' which means 'forced work or labor'. We use the word "Robot" today to mean any man-made machine that can perform work or other actions normally performed by humans, either automatically or by remote control.

What do Robots do?
Most robots today are used to do repetitive (boring) actions or jobs considered too dangerous for humans. They are also used in factories to build things like cars, candy bars, and electronics. Some robots are even designed to explore underwater and on other planets!

So Why Use Robots?
The reason we use robots is because it is cheaper, easier and sometimes the only way we can get things done! Robots can explore inside gas tanks, volcanoes, Mars and other places too dangerous for humans to go! Robots also can do one thing over and over again without getting bored – is that something you could do? Think about it – standing in one place doing the same thing all day and night would get pretty boring! Another reason to use robots is because they never get sick, don’t need to take a day off, and best of all they don’t ever complain!

What are Robots Made Of?
Well, Robots can be made from a variety of materials including metals and plastics and most robots usually have at least 3 main parts:

  1. The Controller also known as the "brain" which is run by a computer program
  2. Mechanical parts - motors, pistons, grippers, wheels, gears that make the robot move usually powered by air, water, or electricity.
  3. Sensors – to tell the robot about its surroundings.

These parts working together control how the robot operates. Without the controller or "brain", motors, and sensors, robots would not be able to function.

Robot Limitations
Unlike in the movies Robots are unable to think or make decisions, they are only tools to help us get things done. But, who knows what Robots may be able to do in the future… maybe you will design the "Super Robot" of tomorrow! Learn more about Robots and how they work at      

Robotics Links

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