When it comes to describing robots, many roboticists choose to focus on the size, types of actuators or other physical capabilities. As most areas of robotics deploy robots with large memory and processing power, the question “how computational resources limit what a robot can do” is often overlooked. However, the capabilities of many miniature robots are limited by significantly less memory and processing power. At present, there is no systematic approach to comparing and quantifying the computational resources as a whole and their implications.
This paper proposes computational indices that systematically quantify computational resources—individually and as a whole. Then, by comparing 31 state-of-the-art miniature robots, a computational classification ranging from non-computing to non-constrained robots is introduced. Finally, the implications of computational constraints on robotic software are discussed.