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Robotics: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 27 Sep 2012
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About the Author
Alan Winfield is Professor of Electronic Engineering and Director of the Science Communication Unit at the University of the West of England, Bristol. He conducts research in swarm robotics in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory and is especially interested in robots as working models of life, evolution, intelligence, and culture. Alan is passionate about communicating science and technology. He holds an EPSRC Senior Media Fellowship with the theme Intelligent Robots in Science and Society, and blogs about robots, open science and related topics at http://alanwinfield.blogspot.com/
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Top Customer Reviews
As someone whose knowledge of robotics was limited to endless hours of sci-fi TV, it was fascinating to see the book delineate the gap between reality and science-fiction. The mechanical and engineering problems (robots which can walk on two legs, or cluster robots which can unite to form a larger unit) are much closer to robust solution than the cognitive problems of robot "intelligence" and "emotion".
Informative and thought-provoking by turns, this book is a worthy addition to this series.
"Robotics: A Very Short Introduction" is a great little book about robots and robotics. The author is a bona fide authority in the field, and his enthusiasm for robotics clearly shows. Unlike some other similar books, this one really does go into the nitty-gritty aspects of robots - what are robots, how can they be classified, how are they designed and built, what is the state of art of robots right now, and what can we reasonably expect to see in the upcoming years and decades. This, however, is not a how-to book on robots, and if you are looking to actually build your own first robot you may want to look elsewhere.
There are a couple of issues that I wish were covered in more detail: the ethics of robots, and the legal aspect of having robots in our society.Read more ›
Another confession: I had very little prior knowledge of robotics. It’s always seemed to me a more ‘hands-on’ science where I’m much more at home with theory. The book, though, doesn’t require you to build your own robot. For that, I was quite grateful.
Instead, Winfield starts us off as simply as he can, by defining what a robot is. He gives a few different definitions, as one simply will not suffice, and then expands a little on these. From here, he goes on to show the reader some different examples of robots in use now, highlighting the differences between them. For example, car production line machines, cow milking machines, hospital dispensing robots, drone aircraft and the Mars rover.
A table of classification is then built up, so that we can better understand each different type of robot. They are classed according to their mobility, their means of control, their shape/morphology, their interactivity with humans, their ability to learn and their ultimate purpose. All this takes up the first two chapters of the book and are very easy to follow. Winfield doesn’t assume very much of his readers, for which I, as a total novice to the field, am very grateful.
From here, he goes on to look at what he dubs ‘biological robotics’ where robots are designed to mimic either human or animal behaviour or functions to greater levels of mimicry, including a fascinating example of a robot that has something resembling a digestive system – something I had never come across before.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a great book. As a newcomer to the field, coming from a social science background, this book offered me an invaluable overview of both the conceptual and practical... Read morePublished 5 months ago by L. Veling
Fascinating book - clear, inspiring and also strangely prescient of Disney's Big Hero 6 movie!Published on 1 Jun. 2015 by Alyson Witchet
Marvellous book clear, informative and packed with information...not a push over slick, babyish read like from US pseudo science but serious stuff which was suitable for background... Read morePublished on 24 Nov. 2014 by Mme Sosostris
Just started getting into robotics as a degree course prospect and wanted to introduce myself to the material. Read morePublished on 27 Jan. 2014 by Thomas jack honey