Course CodeBSC116
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn about Robotics and Possible Applications of Robots

A robot is a mechanical or virtual assistant that can simulate some human functions or movements. In the real world, it is an autonomous machine capable of sensing its environment, performing computations to make decisions, and executing actions.
In this course you will develop a foundation for understanding robotics, and learn about different types and possible uses of robots.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Types of Robots
    • A Brief History of Robotics
    • Types of Physical Robots
    • Components - body frame, drivetrain, manipulators, controls, sensors, end effects
    • Key principles of robotics
    • Classifying robots -Cartesian, cylindrical, SCARA, Delta, Articulated
    • Mode of operation -re programmed, autonomous, teleoperated, augmenting, humanoid
    • Application type -Manufacturing, other industrial, domestic, toy/entertainment
    • Movement type - fixed, mobile
  2. Robotic Actuators
    • Actuator type - hydraulic, pneumatic, electrical, synchronous
    • Mechanical Components of Robots - power supply, actuators, sensors, drivetrain, motors, levers, gears, pulleys, etc
    • Robot links and joints
    • Linear joints
    • Orthogonal joints
    • Rotational joints
    • Twisting joints
    • Revolving joints.
    • Robot Movement - PTP, CP and circular movements
  3. Robotic Sensors
    • Types of Sensors
    • Light sensors
    • Sound sensors
    • Proximity sensors
    • Temperature Sensors
    • Tactile sensors
    • Acceleration sensors
    • Navigation and Positioning sensors
    • Sensing distance, pressure, tilt, humidity, gas, etc
    • Devices used in sensing - gyroscope, IMU,
    • Signal Processing
    • Challenges - safety, digital infrastructure changes,
  4. Power Supply & Control Systems
    • Power Supply - mains or mobile
    • Generator systems, hybrid. batteries
    • Battery types for robots - alkaline, lithium ion, lithium polymer, Nickel metal hydride
    • Photovoltaic cells
    • Control Systems
    • Types of Robot Control Techniques
    • Control Systems Used in Robots- open loop, closed loop
    • Types of robot control
    • ON-OFF control
    • Proportional control
    • Integral control
    • Proportional-Integral control (P-I)
    • Proportional-Derivative control (P-D)
    • Proportional-Integral-Derivative control (P-I-D)
    • Linear Time-invariant control (LTI)
  5. Kinematics
    • Forward kinematics
    • Reverse/Inverse kinematics
    • Configuration and Workspace
    • Structure of Robots - based on joints, topology or position
    • Configurations and Configuration Space
    • Degrees of freedom
    • Kinematic pairs
  6. Cybernetics
    • Robot Brain
    • Structure of human nervous system
    • Cybernetics
    • Artificial brain cells
    • Artificial Intelligence
    • Artificial neural networks
    • Applications
    • Developments in Autonomy
  7. Robot Maintenance
    • Why maintenance
    • Why maintenance
    • Components of a robot - electrical, resistors, capacitators, inductors, transformers, etc
    • Active components - diodes, transistor
    • Integrated circuits
    • Switches, Fuses, Circuit breakers, Relays
    • Preventative maintenance
    • After breakdown maintenance
    • Maintenance planning
  8. Applications
    • Industrial Robots
    • Logistics
    • Manufacturing
    • Transportation
    • Service Robots - health care, telepresence, surgical, rehabilitation
    • Bionics and exoskeletons
    • Sanitation and disinfection
    • Home Robots - vacuum, pool cleaning, personal assistant, lawn mowing
    • Educational robots


  • Define a robot and discuss different types of robots.
  • Describe different types of robotic components.
  • Describe a variety of sensors used in robotics.
  • Describe different options for power supply, and different control systems in robots.
  • Explain the application of kinematics to robotics.
  • Discuss cybernetics and its application to robotics.
  • Determine maintenance procedures to be applied with different types of robots.
  • Explain a range of different applications for robots in different industries.

A robot is a mechanical or virtual assistant that can simulate some human functions or movements. In the real world, it is an autonomous machine capable of sensing its environment, performing computations to make decisions, and executing actions.

A robot is usually an electromechanical system, which, by its appearance or actions, gives the impression that it has some abilities on its own.

Robots vary in their size, design, and capabilities. The term ‘robot’ refers to both physical and virtual software tools, but virtual robots are usually called bots. 

Physical robots are generally hardware applications of artificial intelligence (AI). This means they usually have a body with arms, legs, or both to accomplish physical duties in various conditions. 
A popular robot which carries out a mechanical function is a drone. Drones are robots that can fly and are controlled or programmed by humans. Another example is the robotic arms used in factories for assembly lines, automated construction, and other tasks.These are commonly used in the automotive industry.

Virtual robots, or bots, are an application of AI used to automate tasks. There are levels of these bots, from simple (e.g. a Slackbot) through to complex (e.g. a virtual assistant).  A chatbot is a software application that can use AI to communicate with human users to assist them in various applications. 

SIRI, the assistant that comes with Apple technology, is a chatbot (not a mechanical robot). SIRI evolved from a project at SRI Artificial Intelligence Centre that utilised voice recognition software from Nuance communications together with advanced machine learning technology.

Understanding robotics will be critical to work in many, if not most jobs of the future. Understanding robotics is important to your future employ-ability and productivity.
If you have not previously studied robotics this is a course you may well need to do. 



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