beanz Magazine

Is That Elevator a Robot?

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Learn about the Destination Dispatch algorithm and create your own robotic lift.

In the past two issues of Beanz we have thought a bit about the robotics that goes into building simple elevators. We even created two elevator systems using a stepper motor and Arduino to transport items from the ground on up to the top of a mini treehouse, as well as up the prototype of a more standard elevator shaft. These projects involved a bit of mechanics, some electronics, and a tad of code.

Even though mechanics, electronics, and code are the main components of robotics, these simple elevators are better described as electronics projects than robotic projects. The reason being is that they did not involve sensors and the finished products required too much human involvement to run properly. The line that distinguishes machines such as our simple elevators from robots is a bit fuzzy, but it is generally agreed that robots can make decisions for themselves, without humans controlling them through switches and buttons.

Most elevators today still require a human to push a button telling it what floor to stop at. However through the use of sensors and code, they can decide on their own when they have reached a specified floor. This ability makes them more robot-like than elevators of the past that relied on a human operator who traveled inside the car, telling the elevator when to open and close its doors.

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Learn about the Destination Dispatch algorithm and create your own robotic lift.

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Interesting stories about computer science, software programming, and technology for December 2018.

Links from the bottom of all the December 2018 articles, collected in one place for you to print, share, or bookmark.