Mobile robots are robots with the capability to move around in their environment. Mobile robots unlike industrial robots are not fixed to one physical location. Mobile robots balance through various different ways. The latest kind of mobile robot includes Carnegie Mellon University's ballbot robot. This mobile robot balances itself on a ball instead of wheels or legs. 'Ballbot' is an Omni directional robot. It is a tall, slim robot that can balance on a single urethane-coated metal sphere. It is almost of the same height of a person and weighs 95 pounds. Developed by Professor Ralph Hollis in the Micro dynamic Systems Laboratory this robot took almost 2 years to complete. This robot outperforms earlier statically stable robots having three to four legs or wheels and a wide base for support.
The mobile robots can be classified either on the basis of:
- Environment in which they travel:
- Land robots
- Aerial robots also called unmanned aerial vehicles
- Underwater robots also called autonomous underwater vehicles
- Device they use to move: like legged robots having legs like humans or wheeled robots or robots with tracks.
A mobile robot consists of:
- Actuators or the effectors
- Locomotion system
- On board computer system
A mobile robot typically moves through actuators like motor. The actuators generally drive the effectors like wheels, tracks and legs. A mobile robot is programmed with software's on or off board the robot. When the software's reside on the mobile robots than they are called in board sensors and when the location is independent of the platform than the sensors are called being off board.
A mobile robot can have direct effector or an indirect effector.
DIRECT EFFECTOR: Also called effector in a mobile robot refers to a locomotive system like wheels or a movable appendage like manipulators. Sometimes certain sensors are also considered active since they emanate waves into the environment.
INDIRECT EFFECTOR: It does not change the robots physical platform but does affect its environment. For example in case of infra red elevator interface a robot can request elevator service without making any kind of contact with the up or down buttons.
The new kind of mobile robot balance includes robots moving on a ball, 2 legs, wheels or tracks. They can be controlled directly or indirectly by humans.