Monday, August 11, 2008

What Does Your Robot Run On?

There are new domestic robots coming each year, all of them do wonderful things to help us out but they all need some type of power to run. Many domestic robots run on batteries since they do not emit deadly fumes while running and are inexpensive to maintain. Currently three types of rechargeable batteries are found in domestic robots:

Nickel Cadmium Battery (NiCd) - One of the oldest rechargeable technologies, very inexpensive, has a low capacity, suffers from "Memory Effect" and is deadly to the environment.

Nickel-Metal Hydride Battery (NiMH) - Currently the most used, inexpensive, 50% more capacity compared to NiCd, suffers from "Memory Effect" but less noticeable and discharges faster when not in use and has a limited service compared to NiCd.

Lithium-ion Battery (LiION) - Latest commercial rechargeable technology, expensive, best energy-to-mass ratio, no "Memory Effect" and slow loss of charge when not used.

So the next time you open up your robot you will surely find one of these battery technologies. Each has its pros and cons but all provide the juice that your robot needs to get the job done. It is good to know how to take care of your batteries if you wish to extend the life as much as you can from them; I will provide some tips on a future post to help you out. There are many other interesting ways to power your robot, some mix different technologies as solar and methanol fuel cells all from which provide the fuel to run our robots for the near future!

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