Adaptive control – control method used by a controller which must adapt to a controlled system with parameters which vary, or are initially uncertain. For example, as an aircraft flies, its mass will slowly decrease as a result of fuel consumption; a control law is needed that adapts itself to such changing conditions.
Aerial robotics – development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, aircraft without a human pilot aboard. Their flight is controlled either autonomously by onboard computers or by the remote control of a pilot on the ground or in another vehicle.
Anthrobotics – science of developing and studying robots that are either entirely or in some way human-like.
BEAM robotics – a style of robotics that primarily uses simple analogue circuits instead of a microprocessor in order to produce an unusually simple design (in comparison to traditional mobile robots) that trades flexibility for robustness and efficiency in performing the task for which it was designed.
Biomorphic robotics – a sub-discipline of robotics focused upon emulating the mechanics, sensor systems, computing structures and methodologies used by animals.
Bionics – also known as biomimetics, biognosis, biomimicry, or bionical creativity engineering is the application of biological methods and systems found in nature to the study and design of engineering systems and modern technology.
Biorobotics – a study of how to make robots that emulate or simulate living biological organisms mechanically or even chemically.
Degrees of freedom – in mechanics, the degree of freedom (DOF) of a mechanical system is the number of independent parameters that define its configuration. It is the number of parameters that determine the state of a physical system and is important to the analysis of systems of bodies in mechanical engineering, aeronautical engineering, robotics, and structural engineering.
Developmental Robotics – a methodology that uses metaphors from neural development and developmental psychology to develop the mind for autonomous robots
Digital control – a branch of control theory that uses digital computers to act as system controllers.
Kinematics – study of motion, as applied to robots. This includes both the design of linkages to perform motion, their power, control and stability; also their planning, such as choosing a sequence of movements to achieve a broader task.
Direct manipulation interface – In computer science, direct manipulation is a human–computer interaction style which involves continuous representation of objects of interest and rapid, reversible, and incremental actions and feedback. The intention is to allow a user to directly manipulate objects presented to them, using actions that correspond at least loosely to the physical world.
Robotic mapping – the goal for an autonomous robot to be able to construct (or use ) a map or floor plan and to localize itself in it
Microrobotics – a field of miniature robotics, in particular mobile robots with characteristic dimensions less than 1 mm
Motion planning – (a.k.a., the "navigation problem", the "piano mover's problem") is a term used in robotics for the process of detailing a task into discrete motions.
Motor control – information processing related activities carried out by the central nervous system that organize the musculoskeletal system to create coordinated movements and skilled actions.
Nanorobotics – the emerging technology field creating machines or robots whose components are at or close to the scale of a nanometer (10−9 meters).
Passive dynamics – refers to the dynamical behavior of actuators, robots, or organisms when not drawing energy from a supply (e.g., batteries, fuel, ATP).
Reinforcement learning – an area of machine learning in computer science, concerned with how an agent ought to take actions in an environment so as to maximize some notion of cumulative reward.
Programming by Demonstration – an End-user development technique for teaching a computer or a robot new behaviors by demonstrating the task to transfer directly instead of programming it through machine commands.
Robot kinematics – applies geometry to the study of the movement of multi-degree of freedom kinematic chains that form the structure of robotic systems.
Robot locomotion – collective name for the various methods that robots use to transport themselves from place to place.
Rapid prototyping – automatic construction of physical objects via additive manufacturing from virtual models in computer aided design (CAD) software, transforming them into thin, virtual, horizontal cross-sections and then producing successive layers until the items are complete. As of June 2011, used for making models, prototype parts, and production-quality parts in relatively small numbers.
Sensors – (also called detector) is a converter that measures a physical quantity and converts it into a signal which can be read by an observer or by an (today mostly electronic) instrument.
Simultaneous localization and mapping – a technique used by robots and autonomous vehicles to build up a map within an unknown environment (without a priori knowledge), or to update a map within a known environment (with a priori knowledge from a given map), while at the same time keeping track of their current location.
Software engineering – the application of a systematic, disciplined, quantifiable approach to the design, development, operation, and maintenance of software, and the study of these approaches; that is, the application of engineering to software.
Speech processing – study of speech signals and the processing methods of these signals. The signals are usually processed in a digital representation, so speech processing can be regarded as a special case of digital signal processing, applied to speech signal.[clarification needed] Aspects of speech processing includes the acquisition, manipulation, storage, transfer and output of digital speech signals.
Support vector machines – supervised learning models with associated learning algorithms that analyze data and recognize patterns, used for classification and regression analysis.
Robotic surgery – computer-assisted surgery, and robotically-assisted surgery are terms for technological developments that use robotic systems to aid in surgical procedures.
Remote surgery – (also known as telesurgery) is the ability for a doctor to perform surgery on a patient even though they are not physically in the same location.
Ant robotics – swarm robots that can communicate via markings, similar to ants that lay and follow pheromone trails.
Telepresence – refers to a set of technologies which allow a person to feel as if they were present, to give the appearance of being present, or to have an effect, via telerobotics, at a place other than their true location.
Intelligent vehicle technologies – comprise electronic, electromechanical, and electromagnetic devices - usually silicon micromachined components operating in conjunction with computer controlled devices and radio transceivers to provide precision repeatability functions (such as in robotics artificial intelligence systems) emergency warning validation performance reconstruction.
Fiction – Robotics technology and its implications are major themes in science fiction and have provided inspiration for robotics development and cause for ethical concerns. Robots are portrayed in short stories and novels, in movies, in TV shows, in theatrical productions, in web based media, in computer games, and in comic books. See List of fictional robots and androids.
Literature – fictional autonomous artificial servants have a long history in human culture. Today's most pervasive trope of robots, developing self-awareness and rebelling against their creators, dates only from the early 20th century. See Robots in literature.
Additionally, contributing fields include the specific field(s) a particular robot is being designed for. Expertise in surgical procedures and anatomy, for instance would be required for designing robotic surgery applications.
Aerobot – robot capable of independent flight on other planets.
Android – humanoid robot. Robot resembling the shape or form of a human.
Automaton – early self-operating robot, performing exactly the same actions, over and over.
Autonomous vehicle – vehicle equipped with an autopilot system, which is capable of driving from one point to another without input from a human operator.
Ballbot – dynamically-stable mobile robot designed to balance on a single spherical wheel (i.e., a ball).
Cruise missile – robot-controlled guided missile that carries an explosive payload.
Cyborg – also known as a cybernetic organism, a being with both biological and artificial (e.g. electronic, mechanical or robotic) parts.
Explosive ordnance disposal robot – mobile robot designed to assess whether an object contains explosives; some carry detonators that can be deposited at the object and activated after the robot withdraws.
Gynoid – humanoid robot designed to look like a human female.
Industrial robot – reprogrammable, multifunctional manipulator designed to move material, parts, tools, or specialized devices through variable programmed motions for the performance of a variety of tasks.
Insect robot – small robot designed to imitate insect behaviors rather than complex human behaviors.
Mobile robot – self-propelled and self-contained robot that is capable of moving over a mechanically unconstrained course.
Prosthetic robot – programmable manipulator or device replacing a missing human limb.
Snakebot – robot or robotic component resembling a tentacle or elephant's trunk, where many small actuators are used to allow continuous curved motion of a robot component, with many degrees of freedom. This is usually applied to snake-arm robots, which use this as a flexible manipulator. A rarer application is the snakebot, where the entire robot is mobile and snake-like, so as to gain access through narrow spaces.
Actuator – motor that translates control signals into mechanical movement. The control signals are usually electrical but may, more rarely, be pneumatic or hydraulic. The power supply may likewise be any of these. It is common for electrical control to be used to modulate a high-power pneumatic or hydraulic motor.
Delta robot – tripod linkage, used to construct fast-acting manipulators with a wide range of movement.
Drive Power – energy source or sources for the robot actuators.
End-effector – accessory device or tool specifically designed for attachment to the robot wrist or tool mounting plate to enable the robot to perform its intended task. (Examples may include gripper, spot-weld gun, arc-weld gun, spray- paint gun, or any other application tools.)
Forward chaining – process in which events or received data are considered by an entity to intelligently adapt its behavior.
Haptic – tactile feedback technology using the operator's sense of touch. Also sometimes applied to robot manipulators with their own touch sensitivity.
Muting – deactivation of a presence-sensing safeguarding device during a portion of the robot cycle.
Pendant – Any portable control device that permits an operator to control the robot from within the restricted envelope (space) of the robot.
Pneumatics – control of mechanical force and movement, generated by the application of compressed gas. c.f. hydraulics.
Servo – motor that moves to and maintains a set position under command, rather than continuously moving.
Servomechanism – automatic device that uses error-sensing negative feedback to correct the performance of a mechanism.
Single Point of Control – ability to operate the robot such that initiation or robot motion from one source of control is possible only from that source and cannot be overridden from another source.
Slow Speed Control – mode of robot motion control where the velocity of the robot is limited to allow persons sufficient time either to withdraw the hazardous motion or stop the robot.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) – organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989 in order to develop ways to inspire students in engineering and technology fields. It founded various robotics competitions for elementary and high school students.