Robot Glossary

Welcome to our robotics glossary page. Here, you can find definitions of key terms related to robotics, including definitions of basic concepts and technical terms. We have included both common and uncommon terms so that anyone interested in robotics can have access to comprehensive and accurate information. We hope this page can be a helpful resource and aid in your understanding of the robotics field.

You may also be interested in the How It Works page, here are a sample of the articles youā€™ll find in there:


18650

18650 Battery
The 18650 is a type of rechargeable lithium-ion battery. It is commonly used in portable electronics, such as mobile phones, laptops, flashlights, e-cigarettes (Vape) and in electric vehicles.
How it works article - Batteries

Actuator

Actuator
An actuator is a component of a machine that is responsible for moving and controlling a mechanism or system. Actuators are powered by electric motors, hydraulic cylinders, pneumatic cylinders, or even compressed air or hand.

ADC

Analog to Digital Converter
An analog-to-digital converter (ADC, A/D, or A-to-D) is a system that converts an analog signal, such as a sound picked up by a microphone or light entering a digital camera, into a digital signal.

Algorithm

Algorithm
An algorithm is a finite sequence of well-defined, computer-implementable instructions, typically to solve a class of problems or to perform a computation. Algorithms are always unambiguous and are used as specifications for performing calculations, data processing, automated reasoning, and other tasks.

Android (Operating System)

Android
Android is a mobile operating system developed by Google. It is based on a modified version of the Linux kernel and other open source software, and is designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Android (Robot)

Android
An android is a humanoid robot or synthetic organism designed to look and act like a human, especially one with a body that resembles a human's in appearance or behavior.

anion

anion
An anion is a negatively charged ion. It may be a monatomic ion or a polyatomic ion.
How it works article - Potato Battery

Anode

Anode; an electrode through which the conventional current enters
In electronics, an anode is the electrode of an electrolytic cell or a diode through which the conventional current enters. The anode is the electrode at which oxidation occurs.
How it works article - Diodes

APA102

APA102
The APA102 is a smart control LED light source that the control circuit and RGB chip are integrated in a package of 5050 components. It internally includes digital port latch and signal reshaping amplification drive circuit. The control circuit can receive and translate data from the microcontroller. The RGB chip can generate a variety of colors.

arduino

An open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software
Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. It's intended for anyone making interactive projects.

Battery

Battery
A battery is a device consisting of one or more electrochemical cells with external connections provided to power electrical devices such as flashlights, smartphones, and electric cars. When a battery is supplying electric power, its positive terminal is the cathode and its negative terminal is the anode. The terminal marked negative is the source of electrons that when connected to an external circuit will flow and power the circuit. It is the movement of those electrons within the external circuit that allows current to flow.
How it works article - Batteries

breadboard

breadboard
A breadboard is a construction base for prototyping of electronics. Originally it was literally a bread board, a polished piece of wood used for slicing bread. In the 1970s the solderless breadboard (a.k.a. plugboard, a terminal array board) became available and nowadays the term "breadboard" is commonly used to refer to these.
How it works article - Breadboards

Buck Converter

Buck Converter
A buck converter is a DC-to-DC power converter that steps down voltage from its input to its output. It is a type of switched-mode power supply (SMPS) that uses a switching regulator to convert the input voltage to a lower output voltage.
How it works article - Buck Converters

Bundle Adjustment

Bundle Adjustment
Bundle adjustment is a technique used in computer vision to refine the parameters of a camera model and the 3D structure of a scene from a set of 2D-3D point correspondences. It is a nonlinear least squares optimization problem.
How it works article - SLAM

Capacitor

Capacitor
A capacitor is a passive two-terminal electrical component that stores electrical energy in an electric field. The effect of a capacitor is known as capacitance. The capacitor was originally known as a condenser or condensator.

Cathode

Cathode; an electrode through which the conventional current leaves
In electronics, a cathode is the electrode of an electrolytic cell or a diode through which the conventional current leaves. The cathode is the electrode at which reduction occurs.
How it works article - Diodes

cation

cation
A cation is a positively charged ion. It may be a monatomic ion or a polyatomic ion.
How it works article - Potato Battery

debounce

debouncing
Debouncing is the process of removing the small ripple that forms on the output of a switch when it is pressed and released. The effect, from a data input perspective is that the switch is pressed multiple times. Adding a debounce in software or hardware removes this effect.
How it works article - Tact Switches

DHT11

DHT11
The DHT11 is a basic, ultra low-cost digital temperature and humidity sensor. It uses a capacitive humidity sensor and a thermistor to measure the surrounding air, and spits out a digital signal on the data pin (no analog input pins needed). Its fairly simple to use, but requires careful timing to grab data.

Diode

Diode
A diode is a two-terminal electronic component with asymmetric conductance. It has low (ideally zero) resistance to the current in one direction, and high (ideally infinite) resistance in the other.
How it works article - Diodes

Electrode

Electrode
An electrode is an electrical conductor used to make contact with a nonmetallic part of a circuit (e.g. a semiconductor, an electrolyte, a vacuum or air). The word was coined by William Whewell at the request of the scientist Michael Faraday from two Greek words: elektron, meaning amber (from which the word electricity is derived), and hodos, a way.
How it works article - Potato Battery

electrolyte

electrolyte
An electrolyte is a substance that produces an electrically conducting solution when dissolved in a polar solvent, such as water. The dissolved electrolyte separates into cations and anions, which disperse uniformly through the solvent.
How it works article - Potato Battery

esp32

A series of low-cost, low-power system on a chip microcontrollers with integrated Wi-Fi and dual-mode Bluetooth
ESP32 is a series of low-cost, low-power system on a chip microcontrollers with integrated Wi-Fi and dual-mode Bluetooth.

esp8266

A series of low-cost, self-contained Wi-Fi microcontrollers with integrated TCP/IP stack
ESP8266 is a series of low-cost, self-contained Wi-Fi microcontrollers with integrated TCP/IP stack.

fk

Forward Kinematics
The use of the kinematic equations of a robot to compute the joint parameters from specified values for the position of the end-effector.

GPIO

General Purpose Input/Output
General-purpose input/output (GPIO) is a generic pin on an integrated circuit whose behavior, including whether it is an input or output pin, is controllable by the user at run time. The name general-purpose input/output reflects the fact that the pin is not dedicated to a specific function at design time.

gps

Global Positioning System
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a space-based radionavigation system owned by the United States government and operated by the United States Space Force. It is one of the global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) that provides geolocation and time information to a GPS receiver anywhere on or near the Earth where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites.

H-Bridge

H-Bridge
An H bridge is an electronic circuit that enables a voltage to be applied across a load in either direction. These circuits are often used in robotics and other applications to allow DC motors to run forwards or backwards.
How it works article - H-Bridges

Hall effect

Hall effect
Hall effect encoders are sensors that use the Hall effect to detect the angular position of a rotating object. The Hall effect is a phenomenon in which a voltage is created when a magnetic field is exposed to a current carrying conductor. In a Hall effect encoder, a magnet is attached to the rotating object, and a Hall effect sensor is placed near it. As the object rotates, the magnetic field changes and the Hall effect sensor detects these changes. The output of the sensor is then used to measure the angular position of the object.
How it works article - Encoders

I2C

i2c (I-squared-C)
I2C, pronounced I-squared-C, is a synchronous, multi-master, multi-slave, packet switched, single-ended, serial computer bus invented by Philips Semiconductor (now NXP Semiconductors). It is commonly used for attaching lower-speed peripheral ICs to processors and microcontrollers in short-distance, intra-board communication.

ik

Inverse Kinematics
The use of the kinematic equations of a robot to compute the position of the end-effector from specified values for the joint parameters.
How it works article - Inverse Kinematics

imu

Inertial Measurement Unit
An inertial measurement unit (IMU) is an electronic device that measures and reports a body's specific force, angular rate, and sometimes the magnetic field surrounding the body, using a combination of accelerometers and gyroscopes, or magnetometers.

Level shifter

Level shifter
A level shifter is a circuit that converts a signal from one voltage level to another. It is used to convert a signal from one voltage level to another.

lidar

Light Detection and Ranging
LIDAR is a surveying method that measures distance to a target by illuminating that target with a laser light and measuring the reflected light with a sensor.
How it works article - LiDAR

Loop closure

Loop closure
Loop closure is a technique used in simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) to determine the relative pose of a robot with respect to a previously visited location. Loop closure is a fundamental problem in SLAM.
How it works article - SLAM

mah

Milliampere hour
An ampere hour or amp hour (symbol: Aā‹…h or A h; often simplified as Ah) is a unit of electric charge, having dimensions of electric current multiplied by time, equal to the charge transferred by a steady current of one ampere flowing for one hour, or 3,600 coulombs.

MEMS

MEMS
MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) is the technology of miniaturizing mechanical devices and systems by using microelectronic components. MEMS devices are used in a wide range of applications, including automotive, consumer, industrial, medical, and telecommunications. MEMS devices are also used in a variety of sensors, actuators, and other devices.
How it works article - MEMS

Motor

Motor
A motor is a machine that converts other forms of energy into mechanical energy. Most motors operate through the conversion of electrical energy into mechanical energy, but some types of motors convert energy from other sources, such as hydraulic or pneumatic energy.
How it works article - Stepper Motors

MQTT

MQTT
MQTT is a machine-to-machine (M2M)/"Internet of Things" connectivity protocol. It was designed as an extremely lightweight publish/subscribe messaging transport. It is useful for connections with remote locations where a small code footprint is required and/or network bandwidth is at a premium. For example, it has been used in sensors communicating to a broker via satellite link, over occasional dial-up connections with healthcare providers, and in a range of home automation and small device scenarios.
How it works article - MQTT

NeoPixel

NeoPixel
NeoPixel is a brand name for individually addressable RGB LED pixels. The pixels are controlled by a single microcontroller, such as an Arduino or Raspberry Pi. The pixels are arranged in a strip, and the strip is connected to the microcontroller. The microcontroller can then control the color of each pixel.

Neural Network

Neural Network
A neural network is a network or circuit of neurons, or in a modern sense, an artificial neural network, composed of artificial neurons or nodes. Thus a neural network is either a biological neural network, made up of real biological neurons, or an artificial neural network, for solving artificial intelligence (AI) problems."
How it works article - Machine Learning

PCA9685

PCA9685 Servo Driver Board
The PCA9685 is a 16-channel, 12-bit PWM controller. It is designed to drive LED loads with up to 25 mA per channel. It can be controlled via I2C.
How it works article - Servos

PID

PID
PID is a control loop feedback mechanism. It is used to control the position of a servo.
How it works article - PID Controlers

Pose Estimation

Pose Estimation
Pose estimation is the process of determining the position and orientation of an object in a given image. Pose estimation is a fundamental problem in computer vision and robotics. It is used in many applications, such as augmented reality, robotics, and autonomous driving.
How it works article - SLAM

Pot

Potentiometer
A potentiometer, or pot, is a three-terminal resistor with a sliding or rotating contact that forms an adjustable voltage divider. If only two terminals are used, one end and the wiper, it acts as a variable resistor or rheostat. A potentiometer is a passive two-terminal resistor.
How it works article - Pots

PWM

Pulse Width Modulation
Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is a modulation technique used to encode a message into a pulsing signal. The width of each pulse is varied in accordance with the message. The pulse width can be varied between 0% and 100% of the period.
How it works article - Servos

pybricks

pybricks
pybricks is a Python library for LEGOĀ® MINDSTORMSĀ® EV3 and LEGOĀ® BOOST. It is a Python library for LEGOĀ® MINDSTORMSĀ® EV3 and LEGOĀ® BOOST.

radar

Radio Detection and Ranging
Radar is a detection system that uses radio waves to determine the distance (ranging), angle, and radial velocity of objects relative to the site. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain.

raspberrypi

A series of small single-board computers developed in the United Kingdom by the Raspberry Pi Ltd
The Raspberry Pi is a series of small single-board computers developed in the United Kingdom by the Raspberry Pi Foundation to promote the teaching of basic computer science in schools and in developing countries.

redis

redis
Redis is an open source (BSD licensed), in-memory data structure store, used as a database, cache and message broker.

RGB LED Strip

RGB LED Strip
An RGB LED strip is a flexible circuit board populated with RGB LEDs. The LEDs are arranged in a row, and the strip is typically 5 mm wide. The strip is powered by a DC voltage, and the LEDs are controlled by a microcontroller.

Robot

Robot
A robot is a machine, especially one programmable by a computer, capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically. Robots can be guided by an external control device or the control may be embedded within.
How it works article - Robots

ros

Robot Operating System
The Robot Operating System (ROS) is a set of software libraries and tools that help you build robot applications.

ros2

Robot Operating System, version 2
ROS 2 is the next generation of ROS, built to support the needs of the robotics community in an era of rapidly evolving hardware and increasing competition.

rtk

Real Time Kinematic
Real-time kinematic (RTK) is a satellite navigation positioning technique that allows the user to achieve centimeter-level accuracy. RTK is a form of differential GPS (DGPS) that uses a base station to provide corrections to a rover receiver.

RViz2

ROS Visualization tool
RViz is a 3D visualization tool for ROS. It is a graphical tool that allows the user to visualize data from a ROS system. It is a tool that is used to visualize data from a ROS system.

Servo

Servo
A servo is a device for controlling the position or the velocity of a mechanism. Servos can be pneumatic, hydraulic or electric. In general, the servo operates on one of two principles: the control of angular position or the control of linear position.
How it works article - Servos

Servo Easing

Servo Easing
Servo easing is a technique used to make a servo move smoothly from one position to another.

slam

Simultaneous Localization and Mapping
Simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) is the computational problem of constructing or updating a map of an unknown environment while simultaneously keeping track of an agent's location within it.
How it works article - SLAM

SPI

SPI
Serial Peripheral Interface Bus (SPI) is a synchronous serial data protocol used by microcontrollers for communicating with one or more peripheral devices quickly over short distances. It can also be used for communication between two microcontrollers.

stm32

A series of ARM Cortex-M based microcontroller ICs
The STM32 series of 32-bit Flash microcontrollers based on the ARMĀ® CortexĀ®-M processor is designed to offer new degrees of freedom to MCU users.

UART

UART (Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter)
UART is a hardware device for asynchronous serial communication in which the data format and transmission speeds are configurable. UART stands for Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter.

Ultrasonic

Ultrasonic Distance/Range Finder
"Ultrasonic refers to frequencies above the upper limit of the human hearing range, which is generally taken as 20 kHz. Ultrasonic distance sensors use ultrasonic waves to measure the distance to an object."
How it works article - Ultrasonic sensors

ws2812

ws2812
The WS2812 is a smart control LED light source that the control circuit and RGB chip are integrated in a package of 5050 components. It internally includes digital port latch and signal reshaping amplification drive circuit. The control circuit can receive and translate data from the microcontroller. The RGB chip can generate a variety of colors.

X11

X11
X11, also known as the X Window System, is a windowing system for bitmap displays, common on UNIX-like operating systems. It is based on the X Window System protocol, which was developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (AI Lab) in the 1980s.

X11 Forwarding

X11 Forwarding
X11 forwarding is a feature of SSH protocol version 2 that allows a user to connect to a remote host and have the remote host's X11 server forward its display to the user's own X11 server. This allows the user to run graphical applications on the remote host and have them displayed on the local host.

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