What Does Robotics Mean?

Robotics is the engineering and operation of machines that can autonomously or semi-autonomously perform physical tasks on behalf of a human. Typically robots perform tasks that are either highly repetitive or too dangerous for a human to carry out safely.


Mechanical robots use sensors, actuators and data processing to interact with the physical world. Someone who makes their living in robotics must have a strong background in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer programming.

In recent years, the field of robotics has begun to overlap with machine learning and artificial intelligence. To help avoid confusion, the word bot is no longer being used to describe a physical robot. Instead, it’s used to describe a software robot that does not have a mechanical body.

Techopedia Explains Robotics

The field of robotics has greatly advanced with several new general technological achievements. One is the rise of big data, which offers more opportunity to build programming capability into robotic systems. Another is the use of new kinds of sensors and connected devices to monitor environmental aspects like temperature, air pressure, light, motion and more. All of this serves robotics and the generation of more complex and sophisticated robots for many uses, including manufacturing, health and safety, and human assistance.

The field of robotics also intersects with issues around artificial intelligence. Since robots are physically discrete units, they are perceived to have their own intelligence, albeit one limited by their programming and capabilities. This idea has generated new debates over traditional science fiction theories, such as Asimov’s three laws of robotics, which address the interaction of humans with robots in some mechanized future.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…