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 you’ll find in there:


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.


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 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)

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.


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


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.

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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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


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


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.


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


Milliampere hour
An ampere hour or amp hour (symbol: A⋅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 (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


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.


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 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

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


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


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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


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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