WHAT IS ANIMATRONICS?


A method of animating models by using specially developed robotic techniques is called animatronics. It is especially useful for museum displays and cinema work, where animatronic models of such creatures as dinosaurs, monsters or aliens can “act” alongside human actors.



An Animatronic is an electro-mechanically animated puppet. It is a modern variant of the automaton and is often used for the portrayal of characters in films and in theme park attractions.



Before the term "animatronics" became common, they were usually referred to as "robots". Since then, robots have become known as more practical programmable machines that do not necessarily resemble living creatures. Robots (or other artificial beings) designed to convincingly resemble humans are known as "androids".



Animatronics is a multi-disciplinary field which integrates puppetry, anatomy and mechatronics. Animatronic figures can be implemented using both computer control and human control, including teleoperation. Motion actuators are often used to imitate muscle movements and create realistic motions in limbs. Figures are usually covered with body shells and flexible skins made of hard and soft plastic materials and finished with details like colors, hair and feathers and other components to make the figure more lifelike.





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WHAT IS VIRTUAL REALITY?


Virtual reality is a series of effects produced by a computer that enables someone wearing special equipment to feel as if they are really within an artificially created world. The person experiencing the effect wears a helmet through which sounds and pictures are relayed, but this is not like watching a movie. The computer technology makes it possible to turn round and “see” what is behind you. You can also move through the created world, exploring and having adventures. Wearing electronically controlled gloves and other clothing even makes it possible for you to “feel” objects in the virtual world.



Virtual Reality (VR) is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment. Unlike traditional user interfaces, VR places the user inside an experience. Instead of viewing a screen in front of them, users are immersed and able to interact with 3D worlds. By simulating as many senses as possible, such as vision, hearing, touch, even smell, the computer is transformed into a gatekeeper to this artificial world. The only limits to near-real VR experiences are the availability of content and cheap computing power.



Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are two sides of the same coin. You could think of Augmented Reality as VR with one foot in the real world: Augmented Reality simulates artificial objects in the real environment; Virtual Reality creates an artificial environment to inhabit.



In Augmented Reality, the computer uses sensors and algorithms to determine the position and orientation of a camera. AR technology then renders the 3D graphics as they would appear from the viewpoint of the camera, superimposing the computer-generated images over a user’s view of the real world.



In Virtual Reality, the computer uses similar sensors and math. However, rather than locating a real camera within a physical environment, the position of the user’s eyes are located within the simulated environment. If the user’s head turns, the graphics react accordingly. Rather than compositing virtual objects and a real scene, VR technology creates a convincing, interactive world for the user.



Virtual Reality’s most immediately-recognizable component is the head-mounted display (HMD). Human beings are visual creatures, and display technology is often the single biggest difference between immersive Virtual Reality systems and traditional user interfaces. For instance, CAVE automatic virtual environments actively display virtual content onto room-sized screens. While they are fun for people in universities and big labs, consumer and industrial wearable’s are the Wild West.




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HOW HAVE ROBOTS BEEN USED IN SPACE TRAVEL?


Robots have already been sent to distant planets, such as Mars. They are able to land on surfaces that might be hostile to human beings, to take soil and atmospheric samples, analyze them and send the results back to Earth. Missions “manned” by robots are much cheaper than those including humans and robots do not necessarily have to be brought home again! Robotics is the study of robots. Robots are machines that can be used to do jobs. Some robots can do work by themselves. Other robots must always have a person telling them what to do.



NASA uses robots in many different ways. Robotic arms on spacecraft can move large objects in space. Robotic spacecraft can visit other worlds. Robotic airplanes can fly without a pilot aboard. NASA is studying new types of robots. These will work with people and help them.



Robots help explore space. Spacecraft that explore other worlds, like the moon or Mars, are robots. These include orbiters, landers and rovers on other planets. The Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity are robots. Other robotic spacecraft fly by or orbit other worlds. These robots study planets from space. The Cassini spacecraft is this type of robot. Cassini studies Saturn and its moons and rings. The Voyager and Pioneer spacecraft are now traveling beyond our solar system. They are also robots. People use computers to send messages to the spacecraft. The robots have antennas that pick up the message commands. Then the robot does what the person has told it to do. 



NASA is developing new robots to help people in space. One of these ideas is called Robonaut. Robonaut looks like the upper body of a person. It has a chest, head and arms. Robonaut could work outside a spacecraft. It could do work like an astronaut on a spacewalk. With wheels or another way of moving, Robonaut could work on another world. Robonaut could help astronauts on the moon or Mars.



Another robot idea is called SPHERES. These small robots look a little like soccer balls. SPHERES are being used on the space station to test how well they can move there. Someday, robots could fly around the station helping astronauts.



NASA is studying other ideas for robots. A small robotic arm could be used inside the station. A robot like that might help in an emergency. If an astronaut were seriously hurt, a doctor on Earth could use the arm to perform surgery. This technology could help on Earth, as well. Doctors could help people in faraway places where there are no doctors.



Robots also can be used as scouts to check out new areas to be explored. Scout robots can take photographs and measure the terrain. This helps scientists and engineers make better plans for exploring. Scout robots can be used to look for dangers and to find the best places to walk drive or stop. This helps astronauts work more safely and quickly. Having humans and robots work together makes it easier to study other worlds.




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HOW ARE ROBOTS USED IN INDUSTRY?


As well as being useful in dealing with chemicals that would be dangerous to humans, robots have their uses in manufacturing industry. On production lines, the same action is done over and over again as part-made products pass along a conveyor belt. This is very tedious for human workers. Specialist robots, which can perform only one action, are ideal for this work, but humans are still needed to control them and to act if something goes wrong, as most robots are not designed to respond to unusual situations.



An industrial robot is a robot system used for manufacturing. Industrial robots are automated, programmable and capable of movement on three or more axes.



Typical applications of robots include welding, painting, assembly, disassembly, pick and place for printed circuit boards, packaging and labeling, palletizing, product inspection, and testing; all accomplished with high endurance, speed, and precision. They can assist in material handling. In the year 2015, an estimated 1.64 million industrial robots were in operation worldwide according to International Federation of Robotics (IFR).



The most commonly used robot configurations are articulated robots, SCARA robots, delta robots and Cartesian coordinate robots, (gantry robots or x-y-z robots). In the context of general robotics, most types of robots would fall into the category of robotic arms (inherent in the use of the word manipulator in ISO standard 8373). Robots exhibit varying degrees of autonomy:



Some robots are programmed to faithfully carry out specific actions over and over again (repetitive actions) without variation and with a high degree of accuracy. These actions are determined by programmed routines that specify the direction, acceleration, velocity, deceleration, and distance of a series of coordinated motions.



Other robots are much more flexible as to the orientation of the object on which they are operating or even the task that has to be performed on the object itself, which the robot may even need to identify. For example, for more precise guidance, robots often contain machine vision sub-systems acting as their visual sensors, linked to powerful computers or controllers. Artificial intelligence, or what passes for it,] is becoming an increasingly important factor in the modern industrial robot.



Arc Welding



Arc-welding robots are common in steel production and automobile manufacturing plants. While human operators most often do the preparatory work, robots handle the parts and perform the weld. In addition to improving weld consistency, decreasing cycle times and enhancing production efficiency, welding robots have distinct health and safety advantages. Welding, which involves applying intense heat to connect two pieces of metal, exposes human workers to hazardous fumes and risks of arc burns. Replacing human workers with welding robots eliminates these risks.



Assembly Lines



Assembly robots are especially common in industries that use lean manufacturing processes. According to the ABB Group, a global power and technology company, an automated assembly line supports lean manufacturing businesses ranging from food processors to automotive manufacturing plants in a number of ways. Robots reduce waste, and decrease both wait and changeover time as they increase accuracy, consistency and assembly line speed. In addition, robots save human operators from tedious assembly line jobs.



Picking and Packing



The faster and more efficiently you can pick and pack products as they come off the assembly line, the better. However, picking and packing jobs require dexterity, consistency and flexibility, which over time can not only tax the health and safety of human workers but also decrease efficiency and speed. Picking and packing robots ensure consistent throughput, a measure of productivity within a given amount of time, which is why picking and packing robots are common in manufacturing industries.



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WILL ROBOTS EVER BE ABLE TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES?


In many ways, robots already do think for themselves, in the sense that they may have the ability to assess all the information available in a particular situation and make a decision based on what they “know”. Some robots can also “learn”, so that if an action is unsuccessful, they do not repeat it. But any robot is only as good as the electronic circuits that cause it to move and the engineering that has enabled it to respond physically to electronic signals. As computer technology becomes more sophisticated, so will robots. It is likely that they will play an important role in all our lives in the twenty-first century.



Generally, we say that robots don't have feelings and so they can't behave like humans. But the most important thing is the evolution through which we learn or develop a lot of new things about which we were never aware before that point. Perhaps the so called early humans, Homo erectus didn't have feelings and as the time passed by they were exposed to different situations and in trying to adapt to them they developed the feelings like hunger, pain, fear, love and so on. So if we give enough time and if robots have the ability to evolve in time, they could one day become as intelligent as humans and may have the feelings. Is this not possible?



This is of course not entirely true. A robot could mimic feelings, regardless of it actually feeling them, and could thus behave human-like. Also look up on the Turing-test on this one. But to cut down to the chase, we, humans, got certain hardware, biological equivalents to software and our neural system is a closed system, so yeah, we are theoretically able to fully create that, which includes everything from perception, to feelings, to creativity. The reason that we cannot do that right now, depends on our current understanding of the brain and (perhaps) the state of current technological equipment.



Finally, I'd like to respond to a couple of remarks from John Galvin: "AI, Robotics and so forth will always be bonded by the code created for them, and for such an AI to be consider equal to our mortal intelligence would require a programmer of greater intelligence"



We too are bonded by code (DNA, basically) and there is absolutely no reason to believe that we cannot figure out our own code (not saying it's easy though). So, once fully understood, there is no reason to assume that we cannot make ourselves. Heck, we're already reproducing ourselves by the billions; we just gotta look beyond the GUI of sexual intercourse.



Finally, you talk about the 7 logical gates a computer uses. Our current understanding of the brain tells us that neurons do precisely just that. Obviously, a computer is able to perform billions of actions with just those 7 gates; it's just that we don't exactly know how the brain uses those 7 gates to do what it does.



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