What is Cloud?
Cloud in simple words is a storing, managing and processing place over the internet rather than on a local server or computer. In a traditional environment application is developed and hosted on a dedicated server. However, in case of cloud, infrastructure is shared among multiple software applications. CPU, storage and memory are allocated to application as per application requirement on shared infrastructure. As an example– You developed a software application, and you want to host this application so that people can use your software application. You may go to Amazon to host this application. If you are using Amazon to host your application, you are using Amazon cloud service. There are 3 types of clouds:
Public: A third-party provider delivers the cloud service over the Internet. Public cloud services are sold on-demand, typically by the minute or the hour.
Private: A private cloud is private to the organization. It is designed according to their needs and security requirements.
Hybrid: It is the combination of both Public and Private cloud.
What is cloud computing?
The delivery of on-demand computing resources over the Internet on need basis.
How cloud can be helpful in field of Robotics?
Think of a scenario where a Robot is deployed at a far location and living condition for humans is not very favorable. The task of the Robot is to send the information about the area and climate. Here Cloud can be used to pass the data, share the information and images.
Cloud Robotics is a field of Robotics that uses Cloud technologies like: Cloud computing, cloud storage and other internet technologies in Robotics, centered on benefits of shared infrastructure and shared services. It makes the robots interaction easier.
Cloud robotics takes advantage of internet as a resource for parallel computation and real time sharing of vast data resources. Some real life examples of cloud robotics are Google car wherein it uses maps and images that are collected and updated by satellite, street view, and crowd sourcing from the network to facilitate accurate location.
Cloud connected Robots can perceive, understand, share and react. Robots can reap lot of benefits from cloud. The new generation Robots can use wireless networking, big data, open-source, cloud computing and crowd sourcing in various ways to accomplish their tasks. Cloud computing is essential for Robotics as robotics application required lot of computation and storage and at times these are limited by the capability of robot. In case you have written complex programs on MINDSTORMS NXT, you must have faced disk space issue, or storage and processing issues on in case of intensive processing, and high number of sensor readings. Cloud makes it possible for robotics applications to tackle more complex problems.
Let’s see more examples on how can these concepts be used in Robotics:
1) How useful it will be if we have a robot which can help us in cleaning up our house. Now every house has a number of different items and this list can be very long. Robot must know the right spot to keep these objects. The list of things will keep increasing on a day to day basis and to handle such high data points, Robot needs a lot of memory. It has to store a lot of data. To make things simpler we can connect our Robot to the wireless network and connect it to the information needed. Instead of keeping a lot of data in the Robot’s memory (which is limited, NXT has 256 KB flash memory, 64 KB RAM, EV3 has 64 MB RAM, 16 MB Flash and micro SDHC Slot), we can use cloud to store and retrieve data. This is one of the scenario where we are using wireless technology, big data, and cloud to enable our Robot in accomplishing the house cleaning task.
2) Another example you can easily imagine, if we have Robots to control Traffic. There can be hundreds of Robots to control traffic within a city. Now if all the Robots can communicate with each other and depending on the traffic situation can manage the traffic it will ease our problem. While constantly communication with each other they can alert everyone to divert the traffic if there is congestion or accident on one of the way. Robots can use cloud to share data, images and information to improve their performance. In case of EV3 we can pair only 2 devices so if we want to pair a number of Robots we can use cloud so that all the robots can communicate with each other and share information.
Start thinking of more ways in which we can make your robots powerful with the use of unlimited computing power, making them more flexible with the use of cloud, making use of the smart open source systems, reducing the need for hardware acquisition for data storage and letting them communicate by connecting them through cloud.