What is a Robot? Types of Robots | What are robots used for?

What is a Robot? 

A robot is a mechanical device designed to carry out complex tasks autonomously. These tasks are often programmable by a computer and can include various actions, such as manufacturing, assembly, or even performing delicate surgical procedures.

Types of Robots

There are numerous types of robots, each offering distinct capabilities and applications. Here are some of the most common types:

Medical Robots

Medical robots are transforming surgery with precision and tireless help. Two types exist:

  • Surgical robots: Surgeons control these machines for minimally invasive procedures, offering patients faster recovery and less scarring.
  • Robotic assistants: These work alongside surgeons or solo, handling repetitive tasks or offering unwavering stability. They can even disinfect surfaces or move heavy equipment, easing staff strain.

Military Robots

Military Robots

Military robots, from tiny drones to tank-sized vehicles, tackle recon, bomb disposal, and even combat. Armed drones strike with precision, while UGVs navigate dangers and engage enemies, reducing soldier risk. However, ethical concerns linger about autonomous weapons and civilian harm. Robots fighting alongside soldiers are still in development.

Industrial Robots

These are the robots that most people think of when they hear the word "robot." They are typically large, stationary machines that are used in factories to perform repetitive tasks such as welding, painting, and assembly.

Articulate Robots

Articulate robots, like your arm, move with many joints for tasks like assembly. Precise but programmed, imagine them installing car parts. They struggle with changing environments.

Autonomous Robots

Autonomous robots, or self-bots, are brainy machines that sense their surroundings and act on their own. With cameras and smarts, they navigate, decide, and adapt, tackling jobs from warehouse delivery to Martian exploration.

Delta Robots

Think 3-armed pizza slices! Delta robots, known for their speed, have triangular structures that move quickly for tasks like picking and assembly. Perfect for food packaging or electronics due to their clean design and agility.

SCARA Robots

SCARA (Selective Compliance Articulated Robot Arm) excels in pick-and-place tasks due to its fast, smooth movement along a horizontal plane. These robots are compact and lightweight, making them ideal for tight spaces, but they have limited flexibility in reaching high shelves or navigating complex paths. Despite this, they are reliable workhorses in electronics, food & beverage, and pharmaceutical industries, precisely placing components at high speeds.

Cartesian Robots

Cartesian robots, also known as pick-and-place robots, are the workhorses of precise positioning. Each axis (X, Y, Z) has a motor that controls its movement. These robots are fast, accurate, and relatively simple, making them ideal for assembly lines, packaging, and material handling. However, their fixed structure limits their flexibility compared to other types.

Aquatic Robots

Diving into the deep blue, aquatic robots, also known as AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles) and ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles), explore and work in our oceans, lakes, and rivers.  AUVs navigate on their own, pre-programmed for tasks like mapping the seabed or collecting data.  ROVs are tethered to a surface control center, offering real-time video and allowing for delicate operations like maintenance or search and rescue.  These underwater helpers come in all sizes, from palm-sized for tight spaces to massive workhorses for deep-sea exploration.  They are revolutionizing oceanography, helping us understand and protect our vital aquatic ecosystems.

Agriculture Robots

Agricultural robots, ground-based or aerial (drones), automate tasks like seeding, planting, and pest control. They use sensors to optimize yields and minimize waste. These robots improve efficiency and farm size but can be expensive and require technical expertise.

Cylindrical Robots

Cylindrical robots, like a rolling can, excel in tight, vertical spaces. Their spinning bodies reach high with telescoping arms, offering stability in tall areas. Imagine a cherry picker on wheels. Common uses include warehouses, painting high spaces, and wind turbine maintenance. 

Education Robots

Educational robots are designed to assist with learning. They include social robots, tutoring robots, and robotic learning companions. They can make learning more engaging and interactive but shouldn't replace traditional teachers. They work alongside educators to provide a well-rounded learning experience.

Polar Robots

Polar robots, designed for extreme polar environments, come in various forms: submarine drones explore icy depths, tracked rovers traverse snowy plains and rocky terrain, and aerial drones with thermal imaging map ice sheets and monitor wildlife migrations. These robots gather crucial information from fragile polar regions autonomously or remotely controlled, braving extreme cold, treacherous landscapes, and limited sunlight.

Research Robots

Robots are machines that can sense, process, and act on their environment. They come in various forms: Industrial, Mobile, Collaborative, Service, and Humanoid. Research in robotics focuses on advancements in sensors, artificial intelligence, and mechanics to create more adaptable, intelligent, and beneficial robots.


Cobots, short for collaborative robots, are designed to work safely alongside humans. They are smaller, lighter, and equipped with sensors to prevent accidents. Cobots can be programmed for various tasks, making them valuable collaborators in manufacturing and industrial settings.


Collaboration is teamwork with shared goals. Diverse skills combine as people bounce ideas to reach creative solutions. Communication tools keep everyone in sync, fostering ownership and accountability. The result? A whole greater than the sum of its parts.

Mobile Robots

Mobile robots roam free, using smarts and sensors to navigate.  They come in all shapes and sizes, from warehouse whizzes to service helpers.  The future of mobility is on the move!

Swarm Robots

Swarm robots are like mini marvels - many tiny robots working together, like ants. No boss, just sensors and smarts to achieve big goals. Imagine search and rescue, or building bridges - with tiny robots!

Exploration Robots

From deep sea to distant planets, exploration robots—in all shapes and sizes—venture forth. Cameras, lasers, and scoops help them gather data, map their surroundings, and collect samples. Remotely controlled or self-guided, these tireless workers expand our knowledge of the world.


Humanoid robots, walking, grasping machines that mimic the human form, are in development for search and rescue, elder care, and hazardous environments.

Domestic Robots

Domestic robots, or service robots, assist with household chores like cleaning floors and mowing lawns. Some advanced models even help with security.

Space Robots

Space robots come in many forms and assist in exploration, observation, and assistance in space. They endure harsh conditions, pushing the boundaries of space exploration.

Parts of a Robot

A robot has 5 main parts. These are discussed below:

1) Controller: The computer connected to the robot. Often run by programs.

2) Arm: The parts of the robot that move around to put the end-effector into the correct position.

3) Drive: The 'engine' that moves the different parts of the robot. Often powered by air, water pressure, or electricity.

4) End effector: It is connected to the end of the robot arm and can be a tool like a gripper, vacuum pump, tweezers, scalpel, blowtorch, etc.

5) Sensor: It sends feedback to the controller. Examples are Infrared, light, sound, pressure, and magnetic.

What are robots used for?

1) Robots can be used for things that are difficult for people to lift and move through various industrial plants. Robots are specially used in automobile factories.

2) The use of robots in factories for accessorizing, packing, and transporting materials is beneficial.

3) Robots can be used as a substitute for a driver in war vehicles on a battlefield.

4) Robots are used to make IC and PCB (Printed Circuit Board) of electronics.

5) It has become possible to use robots for medical surgeries.

6) In case of tedious and monotonous work.

7) In case of danger and security purposes.

8) Robots are used to extract valuable materials from mines.

9) In the fields of entertainment, research, and education.

10) To precisely examine the microcircuit.

11) Used in military works such as bomb disposal, landmine detection, military operations, etc.

12) Doing routine household chores, cleaning, making tea and coffee, and talking as a receptionist.

13) Robots are used instead of humans in space research, such as the Curiosity Robot NASA is significant.

Advantages of Robots

Robots are becoming more common these days. In every kind of industry, be it a manufacturing hub, a general workplace, or any other, they are the real helping partners of the humans working there. There are a number of benefits that are provided by robots:

1) Increased efficiency: Robots work with a high degree of precision.

2) Higher quality: Due to their high accuracy levels, robots can also be used to produce higher-quality products that adhere to certain standards of quality, whilst also reducing the time needed for quality control.

3) Increased profitability: Robots can save a lot of money as one robot can do the work of 3 or 4 humans.

4) Risky tasks: Robots can perform tasks too dangerous for humans.

5) Longer working hours: Robots can be used to perform tasks at any time as they don't really follow any working hours.

Disadvantages of Robots

1) As robots cannot think like humans, it is unable to make important decisions.

2) Using robots will increase the unemployment rate.

3) Maintenance costs of robots are still very high so it's difficult to afford them.

4) Robots are not yet fully autonomous so training must be provided to the employees who will control the robots. It will be difficult and expensive.

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