What Are the Different Types of Robot Parts?

Tara Barnett

There are many different types of robot parts, but most of these can be divided up into broad categories. The robot itself needs parts that will allow the machine to perform its functions, which typically means that it needs actuators and mechanisms. In order to for the robot to perform specific tasks, it will need sensors or a controller, and sometimes both. Other parts that might make up a robot include power sources, wires, and sound components. Depending on the robot being made, any number of additional parts can be part of the machine.

Robots working on an automobile assembly line.
Robots working on an automobile assembly line.

Many different robots exist in the world, and each of these may perform a different function. The parts required to make a robot depends on the type of robot being made, although many different robots can be made from the same robot parts arranged in different configurations. One of the most important parts available is the controller, which allows a person to control the robot and make it perform different functions. Similarly, robot sensors are important in certain situations. Different sensors can allow a robot to react to stimuli like light, heat, or sound.

The mobile ground robots used by police and the military often use traction motors and tracked wheels for locomotion.
The mobile ground robots used by police and the military often use traction motors and tracked wheels for locomotion.

In order for the robot to move, it needs robot parts known as actuators. These parts are often thought of as the robot's muscles. Many robots use motors or drives in order to move, and for these parts to function, there must typically be a power source connected to the robot. In some cases, however, natural sources of energy such as wind can be used to power the robot directly.

When a robot is designed to perform a function like walking or rolling along a path, it must have physical components that can complete these objectives. For example, a robot that rolls must have wheels, and one that walks must have some form of legs. Often, these parts are highly complex and are controlled in intricate ways. The relationship of these robot parts to one another often affects the potential movement of the finished robot.

The potential parts that could be included in a robot are constantly evolving and cover many different brands and designs. A robot builder must look not only at what parts are available, but what parts would best fit the robot's intended functions. Some robots are designed to work with a limited set of parts belonging to a single brand that can be interchanged and adapted to fit many different functions. On the other hand, some people build and create robot parts entirely from scratch, creating a fully custom machine.

Actuators allow a robot to move.
Actuators allow a robot to move.

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