YES it's a robot, NO it doesn't have a microcontroller

I think we need to get of our high horse here and let snyde remarks regarding our own elitism remain silent..

I have seen several comments here stating that a robot has to have brains to be a robot. Now, where is that rule written in stone? Does it have to run around on tabletops, using skid steering, detecting cereal boxes by IR or ultrasound, have blinking LEDs or follow black lines on a piece of cardboard to be a robot?

International Federation of Robotics claims that it has to operate on three or more axes to be a robot, so that would leave us with very few "real" robots left here at LMR...

The old Encyclopaedia Britannica claims that a robot is "any automatically operated machine that replaces human effort". I think that means any gizmo that can do our work for us.

The US Army are very proud of their Bomb Disposal Robots, and those are just a remote controlled gripping arm on a set of tracks.

The Robotics Institute of America says a robot is a "re-programmable multi-functional manipulator designed to move materials, parts, tools, or specialized devices through variable programmed motions for the performance of a variety of tasks."

-I haven't seen to many multi-functional manipulators that do any of the above here lately.

They go on to divide robots into four classes:

  • handling devices with manual control.
  • automated handling devices with predetermined cycles.
  • programmable and servo-controlled robots with continuous of point-to-point trajectories.
  • programmable and servo-controlled robots with continuous of point-to-point trajectories, which also acquire information from the environment for intelligent motion.

The first one includes RC fork lift trucks and battle robots in the Robot Wars TV show.


The "Father of Robotics" Joseph F. Engelberger once famously stated "I can't define a robot, but I know one when I see one." I think that kind of sums up my point. I meen that if someone calls themselves robotbuilders, and build something and call it a robot.Then WE as a robot building community shall NOT try to make this persons effort seem less important than our own. Anybody contributing to the knowledgebase should be considered a valuable member to our holy cruisade for robot world dominance! So, please, the next time someone comes in here asking for help building a robot that you think is to simple to be called a robot, consider it his/hers first step on the way, and help without sharing your loath for the project, OK?

  • /enough ranting, time for coffee, clck, maneuver


BEAM and Mark Tilden all the

BEAM and Mark Tilden all the way :slight_smile:

There is a blurry line

There is a blurry line between RC bots and robots. For example:

Most will agree that an RC car off the shelf is not really a robot in the strictest sense.

Some people will argue that the same car with a microcontroller accepting signals via bluetooth, IR, Wi-FI etc may or may not be a robot since a human is still controlling its every move (even though the robots brain is processing).

Most will agree that a fully automated creature that moves and “thinks” for itself is in fact a robot.

I tend to look at it that an RC device 100% purchased off the shelf with no build time does not count as a robot. HOWEVER the same RC device built by someone (AKA homemade) that has a microcontroller is in fact a robot. It just isn’t fully automated.

The reason why I think this way is I do have a plan to build something that runs 100% off of IR or bluetooth. Some would not consider this a robot, but I would since it is homemade and has a microcontroller that encodes and decodes commands to perform actions.

Like I said it is a blurry line and I think we need to all agree that we should ENCOURAGE anyone who comes to this site to show off their creations. We only hurt ourselves when we stiffle someone’s creativity because one of us doesn’t think it is a robot.

I would have to contend that

I would have to contend that just adding an MCU would not in fact make it a robot except maybe in the simplest form in it being controled by something other than a human. What would make it a robot is having inputs(sensors) that allow it the simplest reasoning ability to do simple actions…but you don’t need an mcu do do things like that now do ya. :slight_smile:



Lost in Translation
In French if you said “robot” to an older person, they’d think you were talking about a food processor. So, Frits has a challenge posted at the moment where he wants us to draw the LMR logo with a food processor. I’m up for a piece of that action.

All I can say, I said:
All I can say, I said:

** ,**
I concur.

maneuver,I agree, we all


I agree, we all need to encourage our fellow hobbists. Even if they have chosen a different approach.

True, what one considers to be a “robot” may not meet another’s definition of “robot”.

But, I enjoy seeing everyone share thier efforts and learning experiences.

I’ve learned a lot from other people’s projects that don’t meet my definition of a “robot”.

Does the idea that I got for MY project, from someone who has a different approach to robotics make what I “learned” less valuable?

I don’t think so.

One of the best things about this forum is that we can learn from each other.

So, let’s try to keep it that way, O.K.?

Duane S

Wilson, North Carolina USA