Types of robots include those designed to look and act like people, that is humanoid, and are more commonly called Human Robots. These are generally more complex than other types of robots which are only mechanical. A human robot must have a degree of independence to be so categorized. Mechanical robots may be self propelled, but a human robot requires sensors to receive and process information about its environment. It will be programmed to use this information to avoid walking into objects or people, for example. While both the mechanical and humanoid types of robots can be designed to complete tasks that would be difficult or dangerous for most people to do, Human Robots are capable of not only doing it independently, but in a manner that imitates the human form.
The development of Human Robots has required research into many areas of biology, neurology, as well as the electronic and physical forces they employ. Of all their potential benefit to humanity, this expanding scientific knowledge may contribute the most. In an effort to improve Human Robots, for example, progress has been made in designing better leg and arm prostheses. Space exploration, which utilizes the technology extensively, may one day conduct missions without the costly process of retrieving apparatus. Another anticipation is that Human Robots will provide needed assistance and companionship to the sick and elderly.
Robots have entertained millions of people at Universal Studios and Disney attractions. These animatrons, as they are called, are very difficult to determine from real people. However, since they are not autonomous, they cannot be classified as Human Robots.
The complex system of sensors, required by Human Robots are classified much like human senses which they replicate. Proprioceptive sensors measure position, like the inner ear helps us maintain balance. Robots have devices that measure inclination, calculate speed, and detect force of contacts. Exteroceptive sensors measure distances to objects in the environment. They are the eyes, ears and fingers of a robot, and are accomplished by, cameras, microphones, sonars, bumpers and feelers of Human Robots.
Actuators, which cause the movements of robots, may be similar to other types of robots, but what set humanoids apart is their capacity for planning and control. This is the logic system which determines the resulting actions in response to the sensory data.