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4 Math Concepts You Need to Know to Build Robots

Posted By Ryan Duques

By Bailey Fryer

So you want to build robots? Well, you better brush off your math books or get a math tutor quick because these are the 4 essential math skills you must know to build a robot.

The Top 4 Math Concepts You Must Master to Understand Robotics:

  1. Geometry: Geometry is a necessity in robotics. If you are designing a robot for a specific task, you will be tailoring its design to that same task. You will need to find the correct sized parts for your robot. For example, you might find yourself with parts provided and need to ask, “How big are these wheels?” You would then use your geometry skills to find the area, circumference, or maybe volume. Or, while most wheels may be circles, others may be other shapes for different tasks, such as climbing stairs. What shapes are the best to use as fingers and how do you calculate their size? Also, a lot of robots have turning, rotating parts. You are going to have to understand angles and the way the different rotating parts affect the movement if you want to make a good robot!
  2. Measurement:  If you are going to build a robot, you will need to know how big your robot should be in order for it to perform its task. If you want it to pick up a basketball then you need to measure the ball so that you can be sure its hands are big enough for the grip to be secure. That is measurement in action. You also need to know how to do unit conversion, as you will likely find yourself measuring in a variety of units. If a part comes labeled using centimeters, but you want to know what size it is using inches, you can put your conversion skills to the test.  Combining geometry with measurement is absolutely necessary for designing and building your robot.
  3. Statistics: So you built a robot. Now you should test out how well it performs. Maybe your robot moves at a certain speed and you want to see how fast it goes. After a couple trials, you have some data, but now what do you do with that? This is where understanding of statistics is important. You might want to find its average speed from the trials. Maybe you want to see how fast your robot moves different objects of different weights. You could build a data table and then graph the results to better see the relationships between weight and speed. Or, perhaps you want to see the standard deviation, to make sure your data is consistent. All of this requires a good understanding of statistics!
  4. Algebra: Last, but certainly not least is algebra! You may only be just starting out, but this is one of the most important parts of math you will learn if you want to do robotics. Algebra is essential both in basic and more advanced robot making. Algebraic thinking involves finding the patterns and relationships between different things, like speed and power, or wheel diameter and distance travelled. And when you get into more advanced robotics, you start using more and more algebra as you incorporate the physics of what is happening into your understanding. You will use algebra in finding the relationships between speed and distance and time, or force and acceleration. But don’t just take it from me, here’s what Bill Nye (The Science Guy!) himself has said abut algebra:

“You gotta learn algebra. I’m serious, this is a specific thing. And it turns out that algebra is the single best indicator of whether or not you will pursue a career in science and engineering. ”-Bill Nye the Science Guy


These math skills are incredibly useful for those who want to get involved in robotics. If you want to understand robotics, you should do your best to understand math as well!


01000111 01101111 01101111 01100100 00100000 01001100 01110101 01100011 01101011 00100001 (Good Luck!)



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