Robots and Robotics Technology is a rapidly growing field, with robots entering daily lives and also becoming an essential aspect in various industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, entertainment, and education. Robots are built by assembling thousands of vital pieces, although one of the most crucial pieces of Robots is ‘Sensors’!
Sensors are devices that help a robot detect and respond to stimuli such as heat, light, pressure, or motion and convert them into measurable signals. In this blog, we shall discuss what robot sensors are and how they work, along with their various applications.
What is Robot Sensor?
According to Wikipedia, Robotic sensors are described as devices used to estimate a robot’s condition and environment. These signals are then passed onto a controller to enable a robot to react to those stimuli. These sensors are usually made by imitating the sensory organs in the human body to help robots become more aware of their surroundings and aid them in collecting extensive information to function effectively.
Broadly categorizing, there are two major types of sensors, i.e., internal and external. The internal sensors function to help a robot in measuring factors such as temperature, humidity, and pressure, while the external sensors help a robot in measuring light, sound, and distance.
So How Does A Robot Sensor Work?
Robot sensors function by identifying changes in the surrounding environment and converting them into electrical signals that can be processed by a robot’s computer. Mentioned below are a few of the most prevalent types of sensors used in robots:
(i) Proximity sensors: Robot proximity sensors employ magnetic fields to detect objects that are close to them and to calculate their distance from objects with which they’re not in direct physical contact. These sensors come in two varieties: photoresistors and ultrasonic sensors. Infrared transceivers.
(ii) Touch sensors: The robotics industry uses a touch sensor, also known as a contact sensor. These are mostly used for detecting a change in velocity, position, acceleration, torque, or force at the joints of the manipulator and end-effecter. These sensors need physical contact to work the robot properly & act accordingly. Physical contact is needed by these sensors to help the robot work and function appropriately. Touch sensors are used in several switches, including tactile bumper switches, button switches, and limit switches.
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(iii) Light sensors: The light sensor detects light and produces a voltage difference. Robots employ two different types of light sensors: photovoltaic cells and photoresistors. Solar robot manufacturing uses photovoltaic cells, which work on converting the sun’s radiation energy to electrical energy. Photoresistors, on the other hand, are employed to alter their resistance by changing light intensities. When light is more on it, then resistance will be less. These light sensors are not expensive, so used widely in robots.
(iv) Temperature sensors: To effectively track changes in the surrounding temperature, a temperature sensor is employed inside Robots. This sensor primarily uses the change in voltage difference approach to calculate the equivalent temperature value of the surrounding air and respond to a change in the temperature.
(v) Gyroscopes: These sensors measure the robot’s orientation and angular velocity. They work by detecting changes in the rotation of the robot. Gyroscope is also used to measure the revolution rate around a specific axis. This sensor is highly useful if you want your robot to maintain orientation independent of the earth’s gravity.
Applications Of Robot Sensors Across Sectors
The growth of the Robotics industry across various sectors has resulted in the wide usage of these Robot sensors, such as:
Manufacturing: In the United States, Robots are widely used in manufacturing industries, and sensors are used to detect the position of objects on the production line and to ensure that the robots are performing their tasks accurately. The majority of the automation in the US has taken place in the manufacturing industry, which accounts for approximately 82.3% of all industrial robot installations across the country’s industries in 2018.
Healthcare: Robots assist with surgery, rehabilitation, and patient care. Sensors monitor vital signs, detect changes in the patient’s condition, and provide feedback to the robot’s computer. According to data, more than 1 million robotic devices were purchased in the healthcare industry from (2015-2021).
Agriculture: The market for agricultural robots was valued at $4,082.8 million in 2018 and is projected to increase at a CAGR of 19.2% to reach $16,640.4 million by 2026. Robots are used to automate processes like planting, watering, and harvesting crops, and sensors are used in agriculture to measure environmental factors such as temperature and soil moisture.
Transportation: There has been a significant increase in the usage of Robots in the transportation sector. Autonomous vehicles and drones use sensors to navigate their environment and avoid obstacles.
Entertainment: From 2021 to 2026, the robotics market share in the entertainment sector is projected to grow by USD 901.83 million, with a CAGR of 15.21% for the market. Robots are used in entertainment, such as theme parks and movies, to provide an immersive experience for visitors. These robots use motion sensors, as they have to be more aware of their surroundings. Vision sensors and touch-sensing systems are another set of vital sensors used in the entertainment industry.
Robot sensors allow robots to carry out a wide range of tasks independently. They help the robot make wise judgments and adapt to alterations in its surroundings by giving it useful information. Robots and sensors will undoubtedly be used in more applications as technology develops, making our lives simpler and more effective.
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