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A glossary of robotics terms.

[ A B C
D E F G
H I J K L
M More Page 2 ]

A:

Actuator: something
that moves. i.e. Robotic hand, motor

Android: Humanlike robot.

AI: Artificial intelligence. Attempting to emulate intelligence in
living beings.

A/D: Analog to digital. Coverts voltage to discrete value.

Ampere: Measurement of current.

Anode: The “+” end of a diode/LED, etc. See cathode.

B:

Base:
Middle pin (usually) of a transistor. Controls emitter to collector
current. See emitter and collector

Battery: Converts chemical energy to electrical energy on demand.

Binary: A number system using 0 and 1s.

Breadboard: Board used for prototyping. Allows for quick plugging in of
components.


Bot
Board: Popular HC11 microcontroller board developed my Marvin Green.


Basic
Stamp: Popular easy to use microcontroller. Made by Parallax
Inc.

Basic X: Another microcontroller. Made by Net
Media.

C:

C: De facto
programming standard for many microcontrollers.

Capacitor: Component which stores electrical energy. Measured in
farads.

Cathode: The “-” end of a diode/LED, etc. See anode.

CMOS: Complementary Metal
Oxide Semiconductor.

Collector: Pin of transistor that doesn’t have an arrow on the schematic.
See base and emitter.

Compiler: Program that coverts a computer program into bytecode, or code
that the computer can understand.

Conductor: Anything that allows the passage of electrons.

D:

DC: Direct
current. Non fluctuating voltage.

Diode: Allows current to flow in one direction.

DIRRS: Digital Infrared Rangefinding System. Measures distance with IR
light. See sensors.

E:

EEPROM: Electronically
Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory.

EPROM: Electronic Programmable Read Only Memory.

Emitter: Transistor pin that has an arrow on circuit diagrams.

F:

Freeform:
Technique used in building circuits. All components are soldered to each
other, without the use of a board.

G:

Gear: Wheel
with teeth. Used to drive other gears, and create a geardown.

Geardown: Converting high speed, low torque into high torque, low speed.

Gyroscope: Device used to determine how rapidly the robot is
rotating or how fast it has rotated, relative to a fixed coordinated
system. (Mobile Robots)

H:

H-Bridge:
Controls motors using low current signal, like a I/O pin.

Hexadecimal: Number system with a base of 8 instead of the base of
10 used in standard decimal number system.

HC11/12: Popular microcontroller.


Handy Board
: Microcontroller board based on HC11 developed by Fred Martin.
Small, hence the name handy board.

I:

IC: Integrated
Circuit

Inclinometer: Measures angle of attack.

I/O: Input Out. Can either receive or send information.

Interrupt: Subroutine or action, that interrupts program flow, and
executes when outside action triggers it.

IR: Infrared. See article.

J:

K:

L:

Locomotion:
movement.


Logarithmic
amplifier: Amplifier in which the output is
logarithmic to the input. i.e. 1 in 1 out. 10 in 1000 out.

M:

Memory: Stores
value. See EEPROM, ROM, RAM


Mercury
switch: Switch that closes and opens when tilted.

Microcontroller: Subclass of a microprocessor. Basically just a small computer without a monitor or keyboard,
that is specially designed to control circuits, robot, etc.

Microphone: Converts sound waves to electrical signal.


Mini
Board: Older microcontroller board based on the HC11.

O P
Q R S T
U V W X
Y Z ]


O:

Object Oriented: Programming technique where program
is made of of objects that perform certain tasks.

OOPic: Object Oriented Programmable Interrupt Controller.
Inexpensive and powerful microcontroller. See www.oopic.com

OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer

Operand: “Data value that is processed by an instruction in
some way.” (Mobile Robots)

Optoisolator: Allows isolation of different circuit by means of
transmitted light inside the chip. May be used to isolate logic from
motors, etc.

Ounce-inch: Common measurement for torque in servos and small
motors.

P:

PC: Personal Computer

Photodiodes: Diodes that are specially made to detect light. See sensors.

Photointerrupter: Sometimes called a shaft encoder. Transmitted
light beam is broken by rotating disk on wheel. Logic determines speed
based on light pulses. See sensors.

Photoreflector: Same as above, but light beam is reflected by
rotating black and white striped disk.

Photoresistor: Resistor which changes its resistance based on the
amount of light striking the light sensitive surface. See sensors.

Phototransistors: Transistor in which the light sensitive base
controls the collector-emitter current flow. See sensors.

Piezoelectric film: “Piezoelectric film sensors produce
voltage only when subjected to changes in the sensed quantity.” (Mobile
Robots
)

PIR: Pyroelectric Infrared.

Potentiometer: Or Pot. Two variable resistors in one package.
Composed of a resistor (i.e. 10k) and a wiper. When one side of the
wiper’s resistance goes up, the other side goes down.

PROM: Programmable Read Only Memory.

Proximity Detector: Sensors with produces a digital (on/off) based
on an obstacles distance from it.

Pulse-width Modulation: Means by which a digital processor (on/off)
produces an analog varying voltage. Processor produces very fast on/off
pulses. The average voltage from this is based on the pulse times.

Pyroelectric: Or PIR. Detects infrared radiation, in the form of
body heat.

Q:

R:

Radian: Measurement
of angle. 2 PI radians in a circle. To convert radians to degrees, replace
PI with 180. To convert degrees to radians: degrees / 180 * PI.

RAM: Random Access Memory.

ROM: Read Only Memory.

Relay: Switch which activates
then power is applied over its terminals.

Resistor: Components which limits current flow. Measured in ohms.

S:

Semiconductor: Device which neither fully conducts, nor fully
resists.

Servo: Non 360° rotating gear motor, which is positioned using a
pulse stream. Commonly used for RC applications. See Hacking
A Servo
.

Shaft encoder: See Photointerrupter, Photoreflector,
Sensors.

Solenoid: Device which either pulls, pushes, or turns a metal rod
based on electromagnetic forces.

Sonar: Device which measures distance based on reflected sound
waves. See sensors.

Subsumption Architecture: Robot programming method developed
by Rodney Brooks at MIT. Emulates basic animal behavior by giving each
behavior a priority, so that higher priority events always will execute
first.

T:

Torque: “Angular force that a motor can deliver at a certain
distance from the shaft.” (Mobile Robots)

Transistor: Switching, or amplifying device. 3 pins. Base,
Collector, and Emitter. Either PNP or NPN. Base drives the collector to
emitter current.

U:

V:

Voltage: Measurement
of electrical force. I.E. Pressure behind the current. Measured in volts.
Sometimes known as EMF (Electromagnetic Force).

W:

Wall following: Technique used to solve mazes. Either left hand or
right hand. Follow wall always on that side.

Watt: Measurement of power. Power is the rate you use energy. Power
= voltage * current.

Wire-Wrap: Method used to prototype circuits. Wire-wrap tool is
used to tightly wrap wire around the components pins.

X:

Y:

Z:

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