Programming the Teachbot: Seeing It React
Robots need information about the world around them, or they just stumble around looking stupid. Just like us humans, a robot uses senses to know when it’s run into something; when it’s light or dark; when it’s too hot or too cold; when it’s about to fall over; when it’s found the way to the cheese at the center of a maze.
Senses require sensors. And in the practice of robotics, the basic senses make do with the most basic of sensors—mechanical switches for detecting contact with objects, and photosensitive resistors and transistors for detecting the presence (or absence) of light. A robot can perform a remarkable amount of work with just the sense of touch and the gift of simple sight.