• Question: How hard is it to build a robot?

    Asked by Batty Jack to Elie, Col Op, Floris, Jenn, RocketRich on 11 Mar 2016. This question was also asked by THE BIG MAC, obi, 596btr35.
    • Photo: Elie Allouis

      Elie Allouis answered on 11 Mar 2016:

      Hi there!
      Building robots is fun… you have to understand a bit of everything!
      – Robots need to be strong, so you need to understand how to design mechanical structures.- That’s mechanical engineering
      – Robots need to move, so you can use motors and gears to do that – that’s mechanisms engineering,
      – You need electronics to actuate the motors and get data from sensors – that’s electronics engineering
      – You need to make them smart, to move when you need to and where you need to – that’s control engineering

      ….and finally you need a top view of the design to make sure the mechanical structure goes well with the motor and the rest…that’s the role of a robotic systems engineering, sometime also called architect (but nothing to do with houses).
      You can certainly learn to do all that yourself, and I quite like to do a bit of all of that on my own home projects 🙂 …but on large projects like space robots you have lots of passionate experts people, each doing their bit to contribute to the overall project, and all managed by the Systems Engineer. That’s my job !

      At school and university, there is also mechatronics Engineering: that’s a bit of mechanical/mechanism and electronics all rolled into one. A great way to learn of everything.

      Ultimately, there something for everyone, depending what you like…

      …and this week-end I am starting a new project at home to build a robotic lawn mower… :-p