Robotic technology has numerous applications that are expected to make a positive difference in people’s lives. The use of robots is increasingly gaining traction in the technology market, with adventurous start-ups emerging to develop and sell applications, while established information technology (IT) industries are keen to understand and develop robots that can interact successfully with people.
A successful robot application means something different depending on the perspective one takes. Researchers are interested in measurable outcomes and usability, while entrepreneurs may prioritize a “good enough” technical solution that can generate sales figures. Some may even intentionally develop unsuccessful applications for entertainment or to encourage critical thinking about the design and use of robotic technology.
Currently, most robot applications remain at the research stage, but this is expected to change rapidly. The first wave of commercial success in robotics involved automating industrial production, and the next wave is expected to introduce robots in dynamic and open environments where people are present, such as in customer service, companionship, and assistive roles. Robots need to interact with people in these environments effectively, so a solid understanding of how robots should behave around people and how people respond to and benefit from robots is needed to ensure success.
This unit presents an overview of different types of robots and their categorization based on their usage.
See a brief video that describes what is robotics:
Bartneck, C. et al. (2020) Human-Robot Interaction: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108676649.