Field Guide to Household Technology

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Overview

Illustrating how a fire alarm detects smoke and what the “plasma” is in a plasma screen television, this fascinating handbook explains how everyday household devices function and operate. More than 180 different household technologies are covered, including gadgets unique to apartment buildings and houseboats. Devices are grouped according to their "habitats"—the living room, family room, den, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and basement—and feature a detailed description of what the device does and how it ...

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A Field Guide to Household Technology

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Overview

Illustrating how a fire alarm detects smoke and what the “plasma” is in a plasma screen television, this fascinating handbook explains how everyday household devices function and operate. More than 180 different household technologies are covered, including gadgets unique to apartment buildings and houseboats. Devices are grouped according to their "habitats"—the living room, family room, den, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and basement—and feature a detailed description of what the device does and how it works, as well as a photograph for easy identification. With helpful sidebars describing related technical issues, such as why a cheap dimmer switch can interfere with radio reception, this handbook for curious readers provides carefully detailed descriptions and the history behind many of the older household technologies like toasters and faucets to newer technologies like motion detectors, TiVo, and satellite radio.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Written in a breezy, conversational style that will attract younger readers intrigued by the technology around them."  —Library Journal
Library Journal

Following the nature-guide format he used in A Field Guide to Roadside Technology(2006), Sobey (director, Northwest Invention Ctr.) here provides one-page descriptions of the technology found in or around houses, apartments, and houseboats. Each of the approximately 200 entries covers the behavior (function), habitat (location), and "how it works" of an appliance or component of household infrastructure, from an electric toothbrush to a chimney. Sobey's explanations are written in a breezy, conversational style that will attract younger readers intrigued by the technology around them. But the book offers little technical insight for armchair scientists. Furthermore, murky black-and-white photographs and the lack of cutaways or other diagrams detract from its utility. Other choices that serve comparable functions include John Langone's The New How Things Work, Michael Wright and Mukul Patel's Scientific American: How Things Work Today, and David Macaulay's perennial classic, The New Way Things Work. Appropriate for school (grades 6–12) and public libraries.

By Judith Sutton, New York


—Wade Lee
School Library Journal

Adult/High School
The author of several hands-on science books has produced another fun and informative book for all those who want to know how everyday things work. The focus of this volume is domestic items, including devices specific to apartment buildings and houseboats. As he did in A Field Guide to Roadside Technology (Chicago Review, 2006), Sobey explains the purpose of each item, where it is likely to be found, and how it works. For many he also adds "unique characteristics" and/or "interesting facts." More than 180 household technologies are included, ranging from the extremely common (faucet, radio, can opener) to the less common (lava lamp, grow light, robotic vacuum cleaner). They are arranged by "habitat" or section of the house: entryway, living room, kitchen, bathroom, patio, and the like. A black-and-white photo of each device is included. They are small, but adequate for the purpose. The text is sufficiently detailed without being overly technical, and the author often employs a humorous touch. With this book in hand, readers could take a tour of their home, opening up new levels of awareness, understanding, and curiosity.
—Robert SaundersonCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556526701
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Ed Sobey is the author of several hands-on science books, including A Field Guide to Roadside Technology, Inventing Toys, and Loco-Motion.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2013

    Okay

    Informative on a LOT of everyday house-hold items including who invented it and how it's used and details about it.

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