The 6 Types Of Robots And Their Characteristics

The main types of robots are industrial, military, medical, service, entertainment and space. Robotics is
 the discipline in charge of the design, construction, operation and use of robots, as well as computer systems to control them, provide feedback and allow them to process information.

Robotics is an interdisciplinary branch between engineering and science that includes computing, mechanics, electricity and others in a single subject, with the purpose of using technology to develop machines that replace humans.

For example, in carrying out dangerous work – such as defusing bombs – that require a lot of force, such as mining; or in places where humans cannot survive, such as under certain depths of the sea or outer space.

The idea of ​​a machine that can operate autonomously is not new, however its development did not develop until the 20th century and for a long time we have seen them have an active participation in especially science fiction films.

From the medical robots in Star Wars and Star Trek, to fully humanized robots in Artificial Intelligence; the possibility that the robots were actually
a possibility seemed like an illusion.

Article index

  • one

    Current applications of robots

  • two

    Classification and types of robots

    • 2.1

      -Industrial robots

    • 2.2

      -Military robots

    • 23

      -Entertainment robots

    • 2.4

      -Robots in the medical industry

    • 2.5

      -Service robots

    • 2.6

      -Space robots

  • 3


Current applications of robots

However, thanks to the advances in technology today, different types of robots are used in various areas while seeking to continually improve their design, research and efficiency to be used both in the domestic, commercial, medical, military and of course as an aid in the areas of mathematics, technology, engineering and science.

Robots can be designed in any shape and appearance, but some of them are manufactured specifically to look human, allowing better acceptance of the people who have to work with them.

As more robots are developed in the world every day, finding a way to classify them is becoming more relevant. This is because robots have different specifications and cannot do more than the job for which they were designed.

For example, a robot created to assemble machines cannot be adapted for other functions. In this case, this robot will be called “assembly robot”. Other robots are included as part of a complete machinery, for example a welding unit. And some are specifically designed for high demand jobs.

The way to organize the immense number of robots that exist can be by using their operating system, such as stationary robots (mechanical arms), cylindrical robots, spherical robots, parallel robots, robots with wheels (one, two or three wheels), robots with legs, bipedal robots (humanoid in shape), swimming robots, flying robots, spherical and mobile robots (such as robotic balls) and swarms of small robots.

However, more than by their shape, a more exact classification is according to the task for which they were designed. This division will undoubtedly grow over time, as the design of robots becomes more and more specific.

Classification and types of robots

-Industrial robots

Source: KUKA Roboter GmbH, Bachmann [Public domain]

Industrial robots are manipulators designed to move materials, parts, and tools and perform a series of scheduled tasks in production and manufacturing environments.

This type of robot is redesigning the industry, since it allows dangerous and repetitive work to be carried out in high performance and without making mistakes. That is why it is now increasingly common to find them in all kinds of factories.

Most of these robots are used for arc welding, material handling, and application assembly. Industrial robots are grouped according to their axes, size of the materials envelope, type of structure, speed and payload capacity.

Industrial robots are usually articulated mechanical arms, used for all kinds of industrialized applications such as arc welding, material handling, painting, and other tasks. This classification also includes self-driving vehicles.

This type of robot has a controller to be able to program and operate it, in addition to the robot that will carry out the movements and actions with which it is programmed.

-Military robots

Source: US Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. ML Meier. [Public domain]

They are autonomous or remote-controlled robots that have been designed for military applications such as transport and search, or rescue and attack. In this classification we can find various types of drones, especially espionage and data and image collection.

With the new advances, it is estimated that in the future it will be robots that will fight in wars through automatic weapons systems. The most important system in use today is the IAI Pioneer aerial vehicle and the unmanned RQ-1 Predator, which can be armed with remotely operated, ground-directed aerial missiles.

Currently, there are military robots such as drone ships that belong to the United States Navy and can operate together to protect a coastline from other invading vehicles.

The “robobars” work in swarms and can collectively decide which of them will follow the invading ship. They can perform four different behaviors without direct human control: patrolling, classifying, tracking, and tracking.

In the future it is planned that these “robobars” will defend the Navy’s manned ships as the front line during their patrols at sea.

It is even suggested that this system can be introduced in ships that are already in use, reducing the cost of starting the construction of drones from the beginning.

Although military robots are programmed to perform various functions, including the ability to categorize a target as “neutral” or “hostile,” human supervision is key to reclassifying an item if the robot’s judgment of the target is not considered adequate. “threat”.

Military robots are a solution that allows the armies of the world to continue carrying out their defense and patrol tasks, but increasingly avoiding putting the lives of their soldiers at risk.

-Entertainment robots

Source: RefDr [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]

These types of robots are some of the most sophisticated, with a high-performance design, but also sensitivity and grace to interact with people. 
We can find from robots used as toys to robots that help teach knowledge.

In this area we can find the robots that are used in movies to represent, for example, dinosaurs or other types of fantastic creatures. Also robot pets and those used in sports.

-Robots in the medical industry

Source: Nimur at the English language Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

These robots are used in medicine and medical institutions such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, clinics, dental or ophthalmological centers, among others.

Some of the most widely used medical robots are surgical robots, modern equipment that allows complicated operations to be carried out with a minimum of errors and entering areas in the body where it would be impossible to operate without this technology.

Robots can be a support in the work of health professionals, assist and provide extensive services and care, beyond what human workers can perform.

They are especially useful in repetitive and monotonous jobs, giving the option of absolutely replacing people with these robots.

Advantages in medicine

Working with robots has great advantages in the field of medicine. There are statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States that show that of 25 patients, one will contract a hospital infection such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or Clostridium difficile (C. difficile), with one fatality among nine affected .

With the help of robots like the Xenex, disinfection systems have been shown to be more efficient. The Xenex robot is an automatic disinfection tool for medical facilities, which uses ultraviolet methodologies to damage the cells of microorganisms, achieving an effective elimination and a real reduction in cases of infections by this type of bacteria.

Robots in the medical field can not only be used in direct health work. Two hospitals in Belgium will employ a friendly robot to replace the receptionist job.

This has several advantages, since at the end of the day the robots will not be exhausted and will always be able to receive patients with the same smile. The robot in this case, Pepper, recognizes more than 20 languages ​​and identifies whether the patient is a man, a woman or a child.

Replacement of highly educated jobs

But this is not all. If we go straight into the medical field, robots can replace the best of surgeons in precision and efficiency.

With a completely improved field of vision, without involuntary tremors and without fatigue in the organism, the robots used in surgery are a reliable and effective alternative.

This is what the Da Vinci Surgery System provides, allowing the surgeon a 3D magnified field of view and medical instruments that can be bent and rotated at greater angles than human hands.

With the Da Vinci System, surgeons can perform a complex operation through only small incisions. It is a procedure 100% controlled by the surgeon, and allows successful operations with a precision that was previously impossible.

Other apps

In addition to these applications, medical robots have multiple uses. From moving heavy shipments of medicine or laboratory tests through hospital premises; even to be able to lift sick people who cannot stand up.

In Japan, the “robobear”, a bear-shaped robot, helps to transfer patients from their beds to wheelchairs or to mobilize the prostrate.

Its friendly face and strength allow patients to feel at ease and avoid burnout and exhaustion of healthcare personnel, as they must sometimes lift patients up to 40 times in a day.

When it comes to drug administration, robots are also much more precise. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute have experimented with micro-sized robots, less than one millimeter – in the purest science fiction style – that would have the ability to be injected into the patient’s blood and more accurately direct treatments and other mechanisms of relief.

Within this same area we find the Veebot, a robot in charge of extracting blood samples more precisely and more effectively, to avoid the pain and fear that a large majority of patients feel when undergoing this situation. With this robot, the process of taking a sample takes less than a minute and is 83% accurate.

And finally, medical robots have their share of cuteness. PARO robots have been designed by the Japanese company AIST and consist of animal-shaped designs that hospital patients can pet and hug.

-Service robots

Source: Jdietsch [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

Service robots are a huge leap forward in improving productivity in virtually any task. Here we find the possibility of automating all kinds of work that requires efficiency and greater speed, such as taking an order in a restaurant or taking room service in a hotel.

Although robots have not previously been considered to solve these needs, always used in high engineering work and other scientific environments, now the possibility of opening robotics to other areas in the world is being considered.

The service robots would also reduce delivery costs substantially. Their high productivity, which allows them to operate autonomously, will also improve the capacity of the humans who program them, since, for example, more tasks can be carried out at the same time, with efficiency and precision.

These types of robots open a new context beyond the work area of ​​industrial robots, previously only intended for dangerous, boring and difficult tasks.

With new advances and evolution in their development, robots are more intelligent and capable of executing complex manipulations and working in different environments, they have greater abilities to perceive and understand their environment, their programming is much simpler and they are designed to work. with humans safely.

With this, it is already possible to introduce them in different types of markets, being an opportunity for businesses allowing greater productivity and with the same, the possibility of carrying out more creative tasks in a fraction of the time.

-Space robots

Source: Mobile Vehicle Engineering Institute [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, uses various types of robots for missions in space. Some of them are used in exploration of terrain and environments such as Mars or the Moon.

These robots are called analogs and are tested in areas similar to those they will explore, such as deserts. Some examples are ROVER and Mars Curiosity Rover, which is the size of a small car.

Within this category we also find the robots used in space stations to support the work of astronauts, such as mechanical arms, among others.

Are there more classifications? Of course. The development of robots is just in its first stage and projections estimate an increase in the radius of their operations in the next 5 years.

Scientific development and advances in technology will allow the inclusion of robots to improve productivity and efficiency in tasks, thereby providing a better quality of life in all types of areas.


  1. Robotics. From
  2. IEEE Spectrum. From
  3. RobotWorx. From
  4. Learn about robots. From
  5. Medical Futurist. From

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