Monday, June 02, 2008

Robot software

Robot software is the coded commands that tell a mechanical device (known as a robot) what tasks to perform and control its actions. Robot software is used to perform tasks and automate tasks to be performed. Programming robots is a non-trivial task. Many software systems and frameworks have been proposed to make programming robots easier.

Some robot software aims at developing intelligent mechanical devices. Though common in science fiction stories, such programs are yet to become common-place in reality and much development is yet required in the field of artificial intelligence before they even begin to approach the science fiction possibilities. Pre-programmed hardware may include feedback loops such that it can interact with its environment, but does not display actual intelligence.

Currently, malicious programming of robots is of some concern, particularly in large industrial robots. The power and size of industrial robots mean they are capable of inflicting severe injury if programmed incorrectly or used in an unsafe manner. One such incident occurred on 21 July 1984 when a man was crushed to death by an industrial robot. That incident was an accident, but shows the potential risks of working with robots. In science fiction, the Three Laws of Robotics were developed for robots to obey and avoid malicious actions.

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