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Books

Fun
by   -   December 18, 2014

2015_books_kids

Kids love robots! And they love reading too. Ranging from preschool to teen, this selection of books includes fiction and nonfiction, activity books and maker manuals, all to help inspire the kids in your life to get into robotics.

by   -   March 29, 2013

Robot Futures is a new book written by Dr. Illah Nourbakhsh, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University who has been teaching roboethics at the university for many years. According to Dr. Noel Sharkey, this book is “[a]n exhilarating dash into the future of robotics from a scholar with the enthusiasm of a bag of monkeys. It is gripping from the start with little sci-fi stories in each chapter punching home points backed up forcefully by factual reality. This is an entertaining tour de force that will appeal to anyone with an interest in robots.”

by   -   December 15, 2012

The field moves quickly. So much of the material dates quickly. Joining a professional association such as IEEE or IFR and regular reading of publications – magazines and journals – is essential.

 

  1. The Handbook of Robotics is a massive book. But is amazingly good at giving a broad sweep of the field.
  2. Robotics, Vision and Control: Fundamental Algorithms in MATLAB by Peter Corke is an excellent introductory text with online Matlab examples.
  3. Probabilistic Robotics by Sebastian Thrun et al. gives an excellent grounding in statistical and machine learning methods for robotics.
  4. For people starting out in robotics I recommend the brilliant LEGO MINDSTORMS by Laurens Valk. It provides practical ways to teach and inspire the next generation of roboticists.
  5. I also recommend people read some inspiring science fiction to get motivated! You can’t go past Isaac Asimov and his classic I, Robot.

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by   -   December 15, 2012

Aside from the conventional introductory texts on BEAM Robotics, control systems, electronics, and multi-axis mechanics, I always recommend books to inspire thoughts on robotic history, possibilities, and directions.

A great history of the robotic future can be found by starting through Isaac Asimov’s “I, Robot” anthologies (and the extending books “Robots of the Dawn”, “Caves of Steel”, etc). As with the Sherlock Holmes novels, Asimov’s stories are engaging, logical, quick to read, and, best of all, not bogged down by technical jargon. Written in a simpler time (starting 1930s), the “I Robot” parables revolve around the necessities of the humans involved, but as the series progressed over decades, Asimov’s machines evolve more interesting, sometimes pertinent, roles.

Stories of robot evolution are pandemic through sci-fi culture, and there are many pejorative “Frankenstein awakens and he’s pissed” sub-genres that burden the field. However there are some tales that explore why he’s pissed, and what sort of introspection it might take to calm him down (pitchforks not included). Two of my favorites along these lines are “Two Faces of Tomorrow” (1979, ISBN 978-1-59307-563-7) and “Code of the Lifemaker” (1983, ISBN 0-345-30549-3) both by James P. Hogan. Not only are these stories prophetic, but they deal with my favorite attribute of robotics, namely “Emergent Properties”, when a robot system does more than expected. A major part of the fun of research robotics — “Is it a bug, or awareness?”

There are many excellent modern mechanical missives, but one of the most brilliant details a realistic legal robot dystopia that’s free online. “The Robot and the Baby” by John McCarthy (2006) makes me glad robots are still mostly fictional and not subject to choking regulations and political tarnish. For now, the fun of building robots unfettered is secure, but this story reveals some disturbing possibilities and is my favorite cautionary tale.

And finally, I strongly recommend “Expedition — Voyage to Darwin IV” by Wayne Douglas Barlow (1990, Workman Publishing). This book is pure imagination in biology form, and fed well into my long-held bias that robots don’t have to just be copies of familiar earthly lifeforms, they could be nimble, exotic, enticing aliens. As roboticists, we can build anything, provided we’ve the inspiration, and this book is all about that.

Inspiration acquired. Now where’s my box of junk?

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by   -   December 15, 2012

Welcome to Robotics by Invitation! Each month we pose a question of general interest to the robotics community, and ask our panel of experts to answer.

So, what’s on the essential reading list for budding roboticists? Our panel members weigh in:

  

Mark TildenMark Tilden on “What are the five must-read publications for budding roboticists?”

Aside from the conventional introductory texts on BEAM Robotics, control systems, electronics, and multi-axis mechanics, I always recommend books to inspire thoughts on robotic history, possibilities, and directions.

Read more →

  

Alex ZelinskyAlex Zelinski on “What are the five must-read publications for budding roboticists?”

The field moves quickly. So much of the material dates quickly. Joining a professional association such as IEEE or IFR and regular reading of publications – magazines and journals – is essential.

Read more →

  

We hope you will join the discussion. Feel free to post your comment.



Cognitive Robotics Under Uncertainty
November 26, 2019


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