Chapter 12. Making Robots with Node.js

The NodeBots movement is all about creating robots using JavaScript and Node.js. The focus is typically on making something that works as quickly and easily as possible. From a learning perspective, this is inspiring and engaging—you have the ability to create something new in just a few hours! This can be extremely empowering, especially when you consider that hardware is often an intimidating field to enter. Because NodeBots use high-level languages, you can create a robot on your first day.

Robots exist in all forms and categories. Researchers in robotics, such as Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus for robotics at MIT, suggest that robotics will create new kinds of professions.1 On the flipside, robots might provoke a number of discussions that will challenge the classical view of work and play.

For now, building robots with JavaScript leans more toward play and prototyping. But before going into practical examples, let’s explore some concepts and motivations for Nodebots.

What Is a Robot?

When people think of robots, they think of a physical device performing “programmed actions.” Programmed actions can include motion, sound, or blinking parts.

The motion of mechanical devices can evoke very human-like expressions, as demonstrated by the Sony dancing robots. In addition to novel actions like dancing, robots can also serve some “useful” function, such as feeding your cat when you are not at home or industrial uses such as building an automotive ...

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