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Children's LiteratureFor the average reader with basic knowledge of middle school science, this "Hot Science" entry explains the phenomenal theoretical and practical applications of robotics and artificial intelligence. Beginning with human fascination with mechanical men dating back to the Greeks, through the household servants imagined at the early part of the 1900s to the science fiction robot of the movies, Fritz lays the groundwork for the solid science which follows. Pictures and captions support the information about robots in undersea exploration, medicine, finely adjusted machinery for making other machinery, earthquake rubble exploration (and other exploratory expeditions such as outer space), and artificial limbs. Readers may be most intrigued by the chapter on "The Thinking Robot" because a sentient robot depends on a computer to do the thinking, cutting edge research that the next computer-savvy generation may play a huge part in developing. Photographs draw on actual research, computer simulation, and a picture of the cover of an Isaac Asimov book shows a robot dreaming: "About what?" asks the text in a look to the future. Fritz does an admirable job of apt comparisons, historical perspective and future predictions without skipping a narrative beat. While readers may need to reread some explanations, it's all very clear. A solid resource, the book includes a glossary and index. 2003, Smart Apple Media, Ages 12 to 15.
— Susan Hepler, Ph.D.