Blue Sky Science: How do we make robots?

Saisuhas Pulivarthi


How do we make robots?

Imagine building a robot in three stages.

First you have to build the skeleton of the robot. Just like with the human body, a robot’s skeleton is able to keep it in place, as well as provide parts for the muscles, or motors and actuators in this case, to mount on.

Adding the motors and actuators is the second step. The motors can be controlled by wires and electronics.

The last part involves building the brain. The brain can be a computer or some other piece of software that’s running to tell all the motors what to do.

There are many different types of robots. Opportunity and Curiosity are two rover-style robots currently on Mars being used to advance science. Other robots include drones you see flying around that can be used to take videos or explore areas.

Some robots may run on your phone, like Siri on iPhones, for example. Siri does not have the mechanical aspects of a skeleton and muscles, but has a brain, and is still a robot or an intelligence.

Wisconsin Robotics is a student organization at the University of Wisconsin–Madison that works to build a robot every single year.

This year the robot will be a Mars rover style robot that will be used for outreach events and robotics competitions.