Instruction Guide: What is a Robot?

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The What is a Robot? PPT file may be used to facilitate the discussion.

Slide 1

Discussion: What is a Robot?

  • Ask each team what they think a robot is (there is no universally accepted definition).
  • Generally accepted attributes are that robots:
    • Are manufactured (i.e. they are man-made, they do not "grow on trees")
    • Can sense their environment
    • Can respond to instructions
  • Ask each team to give examples of robots they know (real or fictional)
    • Ask students to describe how one (or more) of their example robots match the three attributes above.

Slide 2

  • Some feel a robot must also be capable of movement. What do your student think?
  • What about a Washing Machine? Is this a robot, or a machine? Why?
  • What about an electronic gate? Is this a robot, or a machine? Why?
    • These are ambiguous - they appear to meet the 3 characteristics (and they move), yet most people consider these to be machines.
    • The precise definition of a robot is open to debate - so students can support positions on both sides.  

Slide 3 

Ask students why we have robots?

  • The 4 D's:
    • Dull work (assembly line)
    • Dirty work (mining, cleaning)
    • Dangerous work (bomb disposal)
    • Delicate work (precision work - surgery, fine assembly)

How many types of real robots can student think of?