HOW ROBOTS WORK: Robots are made of roughly the same components as human beings: a body structure with moveable joints; a muscle system outfitted with motors and actuators to move that body structure; a sensory system to collect information from the surrounding environment; a power source to activate the body; and a computer "brain" system to process sensory information and tell the muscles what to do. Robots are manmade machines intended to replicate human and animal behavior. Roboticists can combine these basic elements with other technological innovations to create some very complex robotic systems.
AUTOMATED ADVANTAGES: Remotely-operated submarines have the ability to lend assistance in underwater situations that are too dangerous or too deep for human divers. However, most current models require a cable or other communications link to the operator at the surface. The Neureus submarine is capable of navigating and completing tasks without human assistance. The biggest challenge is programming the subs to "see" and react to objects or changes in the terrain. This is difficult for robots on land, and even harder to accomplish underwater because of limited visibility and problems with controlling the robotic vessel.
The American Geophysical Union, the Materials Research Society, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.-USA, AVS, the Science and Technology Society and the Optical Society of America contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.