A robot is often described as a complex machine capable of some level of autonomous or responsive action. Robots comprise mechanical, electronic, and computation systems working together in a paradigm that is often described as “sense–think–act.” The electronic systems provide information to the robot about the environment through sensors (the ability to “sense”). Sensors can be as simple as a switch or as complex as a camera-based vision system. Using the information from the electronic systems, the robot can be made to “think” by programming an embedded microprocessor that tells the robot how to respond (“act”) with its mechanical system to the information from the sensors.

There are a range of sense–think–act paradigms. These include a basic industrial robot that senses when a new part is ...

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