Acceleration-level – Mathematical formulations working with the change in joint speeds with respect to time. Integrating accelerations twice provides displacements. See position-level and velocity-level.
Accuracy – The ability of a robot to reach a given point in space and how far off it will be in the worst case. Not to be confused with repeatability!
Actuator – A power mechanism used to effect motion of the robot; a device that converts electrical, hydraulic, or pneumatic energy into robot motion.
Algorithm – A set of procedures used to solve a problem.
Analytical Methods – Purely mathematical methods that do not require iteration.
Application Program – The set of instructions that defines the specific intended tasks of robots and robot systems. This program may be originated and modified by the robot user.
Artificial intelligence is the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science that aims to create it.
Attended Continuous Operation – The time when robots are performing (production) tasks at a speed no greater than slow speed through attended program execution.
Attended Program Verification – The time when a person within the restricted envelope (space) verifies the robot’s programmed tasks at programmed speed.
Analytical Methods – Purely mathematical methods that do not require iteration.
Automatic Mode -The robot state in which automatic operation can be initiated.
Automatic Operation – The time during which robots are performing programmed tasks through unattended program execution.
Awareness Barrier – Physical and/or visual means that warns a person of an approaching or present hazard.
Awareness Signal – A device that warns a person of an approaching or present hazard by means of audible sound or visible light.
Automation – A process is performed by using programmable machines. The process is not only supported by machines but these machines can work in accordance with a program that regulates the behavior of the machine. (Common Misspellings: automaition)
Automation Solutions – The techniques and equipment used to achieve automatic operation or control.
Autonomous – Operating independently without pre-programmed behaviors and without supervision from humans. (Common Misspellings: autonomus, autonomos)
Autonomous vehicle a vehicle equipped with an autopilot system, which is capable of driving from one point to another without input from a human operator.
Axis – The line about which a rotating body (such as a tool) turns.
Ball Screw – A device for transforming rotary motion to linear, or vice versa, incorporating a threaded rod portion and a nut consisting of a cage holding many ball bearings.
Barrier – A physical means of separating persons from the restricted envelope (space).
Base – The platform which supports the manipulator arm.
Biomimetic – Mimicking life or natural biological systems.
Bionics: also known as biomimetics, biognosis, biomimicry, or bionical creativity engineering is the application of biological methods and systems found in nature to the study and design of engineering systems and modern technology.
Business Process Automation (BPA) – The process of integrating enterprise applications, reducing human intervention wherever possible, and assembling software services into end-to-end process flows.
Cam – A rotating part which, due to its eccentric center line, causes an in-and-out motion in any part pushing against it.
Cartesian Robot/Gantry Robot – Robot whose arm has three prismatic joints, whose axes are coincident with a Cartesian coordinator.
Chassis – The part of a motor vehicle that includes the engine, the frame suspension system, wheels, steering mechanism etc. but not the body.
Chandra X-ray Observatory: a robotic spacecraft launched by NASA in 1999 to collect astronomical data
Closed-form – A problem formulation that does not require iteration for its solution.
Cloud robotics: robots empowered with more capacity and intelligence from cloud.
Collision Sensor – Robotic end effector or device that can detect a crash before or during a collision of the robot or its tool. Collision sensors send a signal back to the robot controller before or during a collision to have the robot avoid the collision or stop before or during a collision. Robotic crash protection devices are collision sensors that detect the collision during the crash. A collision sensor is also know as a robot safety joint, robot overload protection device, crash protection device, robot safety mount, robotic clutch and robotic collision protector.
Compensator – Remote compliance center device using three to twelve elastomeric shear pads to aid in the insertion of peg-in-hole applications.
Computer-Aided Design (CAD) – The use of a computer to assist in the design of a product or manufacturing system.
Computer-Aided Manufacturing ( CAM) – The use of a computer to assist in the manufacturing process.
Conservative motion – A path where both the end-effector and the joints repeatedly follow their same respective trajectories.
Control Device – Any piece of control hardware providing a means for human intervention in the control of a robot or robot system, such as an emergency-stop button, a start button, or a selector switch.
Control Program – The inherent set of control instructions that defines the capabilities, actions and responses of the robot system. This program is usually not intended to be modified by the user.
Coordinated Straight Line Motion – Control wherein the axes of the robot arrive at their respective end points simultaneously, giving a smooth appearance to the motion. The motions of the axes are such that the Tool Center Point (TCP) moves along a prespecified type of path (line, circle, etc.)
Cruise missile: a robot-controlled guided missile that carries an explosive payload.
Cyborg: also known as a cybernetic organism, a being with both biological and artificial (e.g. electronic, mechanical or robotic) parts.
Degrees of freedom – The number of independent variables in the system. Each joint in a serial robot represents a degree of freedom.
Device – Any piece of control hardware such as an emergency-stop button, selector switch, control pendant, relay, solenoid valve, sensor, etc.
Dexterity – A measure of the robot’s ability to follow complex paths.
Digital Computer – A computer that performs calculations and logical operations with quantities represented as digits, usually in the binary number system.
Direct Numerical Control (DNC) – The use of a computer for providing data inputs to several remote numerically controlled machine tools.
Direct search – A method of solving problems numerically using sets of trial solutions to guide a search. The search is direct because it does not explicitly evaluate derivatives.
Drive Power – The energy source or sources for the robot actuators.
Dynamics – The study of energy or forces that cause motion.
Dynamic model – A mathematical model describing the motions of the robot and the forces that cause them.
Emergency Stop – The operation of a circuit using hardware-based components that overrides all other robot controls, removes drive power from the robot actuators, and causes all moving parts to stop.
Emergent behaviour, a complicated resultant behaviour that emerges from the repeated operation of simple underlying behaviours.
Enabling Device – A manually operated device that permits motion when continuously activated. Releasing the device stops robot motion and motion of associated equipment that may present a hazard.
End-effector -The robot’s last link. The robot uses the end-effector to accomplish a task. The end-effector may be holding a tool, or the end-effector itself may be a tool. The end-effector is loosely comparable to a human’s hand. Examples may include gripper, spot-weld guns, arc-weld guns, spray- paint guns, or any other application tools. (Common Misspellings: end-effecter, end-affector, end-affecter)
End-effector space – A fixed coordinate system referenced to the base of the robot.
End-Of-Arm Tooling – Virtually anything that is placed on the end of a robot arm.
Energy Source – Any electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, or other source.
Envelope (Space), Maximum The volume of space encompassing the maximum designed movements of all robot parts including the end-effector, workpiece, and attachments
Equality constraint – A restriction that requires the displacement or motion of the robot to equal a specified value. Equality constraints specify the position and orientation of the robot’s end-effector.
Error function – The error function assigns a single value that represents the difference between the desired and actual values of one or several dependent variables.
Explosive ordnance disposal robot A mobile robot designed to assess whether an object contains explosives; some carry detonators that can be deposited at the object and activated after the robot withdraws.
Exponential Assembly – A form of self-replication in which tiny devices called nanorobots repeatedly construct copies of themselves.
Factory Automation – Automation of a manufacturing environment or assembly line.
Feedback – a signal from the robot equipment about conditions as they really exist, rather than as the computer has directed them to exist.
FIRST.For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is an organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989 in order to develop ways to inspire students in engineering and technology fields.
Fixed Automation (Hard Automation) – Automated, electronically controlled system for simple, straight or circular motion. These systems are mainly used for large production runs where little flexibility is required.
Flexibility – The ability of a robot to perform a variety of different tasks.
Flexible Automation – Designing and building of custom dedicated automated systems.
Forward chaining a process in which events or received data are considered by an entity to intelligently adapt its behavior
Fully Constrained Robot – A robot with as many independent joints as there are equality constraints on the placement of the end-effector.
Gynoid A humanoid robot designed to look like a human female.
Hazard – A situation that is likely to cause physical harm.
Hazardous Motion – Any motion that is likely to cause personal physical harm.
Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) (or, alternatively, computer-human interaction) – the study of interaction between people (users) and computers.
Humanoid A robotic entity designed to resemble a human being in form, function, or both.
Hybrid – A robot that is part pick and place and part servo controlled, or has the same abilities.
Industrial Equipment – Physical apparatus used to perform industrial tasks, such as welders, conveyors, machine tools, fork trucks, turn tables, positioning tables or robots.
Industrial Automation- Also referred to as automation, uses numerical control during the use of control systems (e.g. computers) to control industrial machinery and processes, replacing human operators. It is a step beyond mechanization, where human operators are provided with machinery to assist them with the physical requirements of work. The most visible part of modern automation can be said to be industrial robotics. Some advantages are repeatability, tighter quality control, waste reduction, integration with business systems, increased productivity and reduction of labour. (Common Misspellings include: industrail automation, industry automation, industryial automation)
Industrial Robot – An automatically controlled, reprogrammable, multipurpose manipulator programmable in three or more axes. The field of industrial robotics may be more practically defined as the study, design and use of robot systems for manufacturing. (Common Misspellings include: industrail robot, industrail robots, industry robot, industryial robot)
Industrial Robotics – The study, design and use of robot systems for manufacturing.
Industrial Robot System – A system that includes industrial robots, the end-effectors, and the devices and sensors required for the robots to be taught or programmed, or for the robots to perform the intended automatic operations, as well as the communication interfaces required for interlocking, sequencing, or monitoring the robots.
Inequality Constraint – A restriction that limits the value of a dependent or independent variable. Inequality constraints limit the robot’s joint travels (joint limits), joint speeds (speed limits) and torques (torque limits).
Interface – A boundary between the robot and machines, transfer lines, or parts outside immediate environment. The root must communicate with these items through input/output signals provided by sensors.
Interlock – An arrangement whereby the operation of one control or mechanism brings about or prevents the operation of another.
Inverse Kinematics – The inverse kinematics problem is to find the robot’s joint displacements given position and orientation constraints on the robot’s end-effector.
Integrator – Company that combines and coordinates separate parts or elements into a unified whole using mechanical means. (Common misspellings include: Integrater,Integreater, integreator, integratour)
Iteration – Repeatedly applying a series of operations to progressively advance towards a solution.
Jacobian – The matrix of first-order partial derivatives. For robots, the Jacobian relates the end-effector velocity to the joint speeds.
Joint Motion – A method for coordinating the movement of the joints such that all joints arrive at the desired location simultaneously.
Joint space – A coordinate system used to describe the state of the robot in terms of its joint states. Inverse kinematics may also be thought of as a mapping from end-effector space to joint space.
Jointed Arm Robot – A robot whose arm consists of two links connected by “elbow” and “shoulder” joints to provide three rational motions. This robot most closely resembles a human arm.
Kinematics – The study of motion without regards to the forces that cause those motions
Kinematic influence coefficients – These coefficients describe the total influence the N input joints have on the motion of the robot and allow a direct statement of the complex and coupled nonlinear differential equations controlling the response of the system.
LaGrange multipliers – A mathematical technique for transforming equality constraints into performance criteria, thus expressing a constrained problem as an unconstrained problem.
Limiting Device – A device that restricts the maximum envelope (space) by stopping or causing to stop all robot motion and is independent of the control program and the application programs.
Linearly Dependent – A correspondence between quantities or functions that can be described by simply adding, subtracting or multiplying a scalar.
Maintenance – The act of keeping the robots and robot systems in their proper operating condition.
Manipulator – The mechanical arm mechanism, consisting of a series of links and joints, which accomplishes the motion of an object through space.
Maximum Envelope Space – The volume of space encompassing the maximum designed movements of all robot parts including the end-effector, workpiece, and attachments.
Mechanical – Using mechanisms, tools or devices.
Mechanization – Introducing the use of machines to a production process.
Mobile Robot – A self-propelled and self-contained robot that is capable of moving over a mechanically unconstrained course.
Moment – (Mech.) (a) With respect to a point, the product of the intensity of the force into the perpendicular distance from the point to the line of direction of the force. (b) With respect to a line, the product of that component of the force which is perpendicular to the plane passing through the line and the point of application of the force, into the shortest distance between the line and this point. (c) With respect to a plane that is parallel to the force, the product of the force into the perpendicular distance of its point of application from the plane.
Muting -The deactivation of a presence-sensing safeguarding device during a portion of the robot cycle.
Nanotechnology (Molecular Manufacturing ) – A branch of engineering that deals with the design and manufacture of extremely small electronic circuits and mechanical devices built at the molecular level of matter.
Normalize – Scaling a number of factors so that they will be of similar magnitudes.
Numerical methods – Iterative methods of solving problems on a computer. Numerical methods may have an analytical basis or they may involve heuristics.
Optimization – Calculating the independent variables in a function so as to generate the best function value for a given set of conditions. Optimization usually involves maximizing or minimizing a function.
Off-Line Programming – A means of programming a robot by developing a set of instructions on an independent computer and then using the software to control the robot at a later date.
On-Line Programming – A means of programming a robot on a computer that directly controls the robot. The programming is performed in real time.
Operating Envelope Space – That portion of the restricted envelope (space) that is actually used by the robot while performing its programmed motions.
Operator – The person designated to start, monitor, and stop the intended productive operation of a robot or robot system. An operator may also interface with a robot for productive purposes.
Palletizing – The process of placing parts in different positions on a pallet.
Parallel Robot – Robot whose arms have concurrent prismatic or rotary joints.
Pendant – Any portable control device, including teach pendants, that permits an operator to control the robot from within the restricted envelope (space) of the robot.
Performance criteria – Measures based on kinematic and dynamic models of the robot useful for evaluating the state of the robot.
Pick and Place Robot – A simple category of robot used to pick parts and place them down somewhere else.
Plant description – A kinematic and dynamic model of the robot.
Point-To-Point Motion – A type of robot motion in which a limited number of points along a path of motion is specified by the controller, and the robot moves from point to point rather than in a continuous, smooth path.
Position-level – Mathematical formulations working with the joint displacements. See acceleration-level and velocity-level.
Positional Assembly – A technique that has been suggested as a means to build objects, devices, and systems on a molecular scale using automated processes in which the components that carry out the construction process would follow programmed paths.
Powered exoskeleton, is a wearable mobile machine that allow for limb movement with increased strength and endurance.
Presence-Sensing Safeguarding Device – A device designed, constructed, and installed to create a sensing field or area to detect an intrusion into the field or area by personnel, robots, or other objects.
Productivity – The amount of output created produced per unit input used.
Program – (noun) A sequence of instructions to be executed by the computer or robot controller to control a robot or robot system. (verb) to furnish a computer with a code of instruction. (verb) to teach a robot system a specific set of movements and instructions to accomplish a task.
Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) – A small computer used for automation of real-world processes, such as control of machinery on factory assembly lines.
Pseudoinverse – A simple method of inverting a matrix that is not square. As commonly applied to redundant robots, the pseudoinverse minimizes the two-norm of the joint speeds.
Reach – The maximum distance from the centre line of the robot to the end of its tool mounting plate.
Redundancy – More independent variables than constraints.
Reliability – The percentage of time during which the robot can be expected to be in normal operation. This is also known as the “up time” of the robot.
Remanufacture – To upgrade or modify robots to the revised specifications of the manufacturer and applicable industry standards.
Remote Compliance Centre (RCC) – Any compliance structure has a centre of compliance. If you were to push at this centre you would have a pure lateral motion (no rotation). If you were to rotate this centre, you would have rotation with no lateral motion. A remote compliance centre is a compliance centre projected outward from the device. Remote compliance centres decouple lateral and angular motion. A RCC device can be used in assembly to ease the insertion force. When a project compliance centre is near the insertion point of a peg-in-hole type assembly, the peg translates into the hole when it strikes the outside lead-in chamfer without rotating. This translation without rotation prevents the jamming seen from compliance devices that have a compliance centre far away from the insertion point.
Repair – To restore robots and robot systems to operating condition after damage, malfunction, or wear.
Repeatability – The variability of the end-effector’s position and orientation as the robot makes the same moves under the same conditions (load, temp, etc.)
Resolved-rate – An extremely simple inverse kinematics method at the velocity-level.
Restricted Envelope Space – That portion of the maximum envelope to which a robot is restricted by limiting devices. The maximum distance that the robot can travel after the limiting device is actuated defines the boundaries of the restricted envelope (space) of the robot.
Robonaut a development project conducted by NASA to create humanoid robots capable of using space tools and working in similar environments to suited astronauts.
Robot – A machine designed to execute one or more tasks repeatedly, with speed and precision.
Robot Manufacturer – A company or business involved in the design, the fabrication, or the sale of robots, robot tooling, robotic peripheral equipment or controls, and associated process ancillary equipment. (Common Misspellings: robot manufacterur, robot manufacturor, robot manufacterur, robot manufacterer)
Robot System Integrator – A company or business who either directly or through a subcontractor will assume responsibility for the design, fabrication, and integration of the required robot, robotic peripheral equipment, and other required ancillary equipment for a particular robotic application.
Robotic Deburring Tool – Deburring tool, air or electrically driven, with compliance and a method to mount to a robot wrist. Deburring tools can also be mounted to a bench or fixture, with parts brought to the unit to be deburred.
Robotic Rotary Joint – Device used to keep electrical and pneumatic cables on a robot stationary while the tool rotates. A Rotary Joint has two halves: a stationary half that is mounted on a robot arm, and a rotating half that mounts to the robot wrist and tool. Slip ring technology is used to pass electrical signals. Also known as robotic rotary union or robot slip ring.
Robotic Self-Motion – The robot’s ability to move its intermediate links while holding the placement of the end-effector constant.
Robotic Tool Changer – Component with two mating parts (master and tool) that have been designed to lock together automatically (normally using pneumatic pressure) and are able to pass utilities (e.g. electrical signals, pneumatic supply, water, etc.). The master side of the tool changer mounts to a robot or other structure. The tool side of the tool changer mounts to tooling, such as grippers, welders or deburring tools. A robotic tool changer is also known as an automatic tool changer, robot tool changer, robot coupler, robotic coupler or robotic connector.
Rotational Motion- A degree of freedom that defines motion of rotation about an axis.
Safeguard – A barrier guard, device, or safety procedure designed for the protection of personnel.
Safety Procedure – An instruction designed for the protection of personnel.
Scale – Changing magnitude by linear operation, i.e. multiplying by a scalar.
SCARA Robot – Robot which has two parallel rotary joints to provide compliance in a plane.
Self-Assembly – A branch of nanotechnology in which objects, devices and systems form structures without external prodding.
Self-Replication – Process in which devices whose diameters are of atomic scale, on the order of nanometers, create copies of themselves.
Sensor – A device that responds to physical stimuli (such as heat, light, sound, pressure, magnetism, motion, etc.) and transmits the resulting signal or data for providing a measurement, operating a control, or both.
Serial robot – A serial robot is a single chain of joints connected by links.
Service – To adjust, repair, maintain, and make fit for use.
Shoulder – The manipulator arm link joint that is attached to the base.
Simulation – The process of imitating a real phenomenon with a set of mathematical formulas.
Single Point of Control – The ability to operate the robot such that initiation or robot motion from one source of control is possible only from that source and cannot be overridden from another source.
Singularity – A position in the robot’s workspace where one or more joints no longer represent independent controlling variables. Commonly used to indicate a position where a particular mathematical formulation fails.
Slow Speed Control – A mode of robot motion control where the velocity of the robot is limited to allow persons sufficient time either to withdraw the hazardous motion or stop the robot.
Software – A computer program which provides the instructions to enable the computer hardware to work.
Solenoid- An electrical coil with an iron section inside that will pull or push when current goes through the coil.
Spherical Robot – Robot whose axes form polar coordinate systems.
Start-up – Routine application of drive power to the robot or robot system.
Statics – The study of forces that do not cause motion.
Swing – The rotation about the centre line of the robot.
Teach – The generation and storage of a series of positional data points affected by moving the robot arm through a path of intended motions.
Teach Mode – The control state that allows the generation and storage of positional data points affected by moving the robot arm through a path of intended motions.
Teacher – A person who provides the robot with a specific set of instructions to perform a task.
Test Automation – The use of software to control the execution of tests, the comparison of actual outcomes to predicted outcomes, the setting up of test preconditions and other test control and test reporting functions.
Tool Center Point (TCP) – The origin of the tool coordinate system.
Trigger Point – The exact point at which a component will change from one state to another.
Turnkey or Turnkey Project – a project in which a separate entity is responsible for setting up a plant or equipment and putting it into operation. (Common misspellings: turn-key, turn-key project)
Two-norm – The square root of the sum of the squares. The magnitude of a vector.
Uncanny valley A hypothesized zone in which humanoid robot behavior and appearance begin to approach that of actual humans, but are still missing vital elements, to the point that these mimicked actions or images cause revulsion.
Velocity-level – Mathematical formulations working with the joint speeds. Integrating the joint speeds once provides the displacements. See acceleration-level and position-level.
Vertical Stroke – The amount of vertical motion of a robot arm from one elevation to the other.
VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) – the creation of a large number of components on a single chip.
Walking robot, a robot capable of locomotion by walking. Owing to the difficulties of balance, two-legged walking robots have so far been rare and most walking robots have used insect-like multilegged walking gaits.
Work Cell – A group of machines all working together on a common part and physically located together.
Work Envelope – The area in which a robot can work, the limits to its motions.
Work in Progress – An accounting term used to express the value of material taken up continuously by the work process.
Workspace – The maximum reach space refers to all of the points the robot can possibly reach. The dexterous workspace is all of the possible points the robot can reach with an arbitrary orientation. The dexterous workspace is usually a subspace of the maximum reach space.
Work Station- A stationary position where work is performed, the work piece moving to the station.
Wrist – The manipulator arm joint to which an end effecter is attached.
XYZ Coordinates – A reference to the most common names given to the lines forming a Cartesian solid
Zero Moment Point. Zero Moment Point is a concept related with dynamics and control of legged locomotion, e.g., for humanoid robots. It specifies the point with respect to which dynamic reaction force at the contact of the foot with the ground does not produce any moment, i.e. the point where total inertia force equals 0 (zero).