Ramblin' Robots: Building a Breed of Mechanical Beasts

Ramblin' Robots: Building a Breed of Mechanical Beasts

by Ingrid Wickelgren
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Ramblin' Robots: Building a Breed of Mechanical Beasts 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great!         Ramblin' Robots, by Ingrid Wickelgren, is an informative and engaging nonfiction book about robots. Questions such as what are robots, their role in the past and today, what they're made of and what technologies made them a reality are answered in this book. It is well-explained and easy to understand without any prerequisites or prior knowledge. The book fuses elements of computer science, robotics, history and electronics. Interspersed throughout the reading are fascinating examples, fun facts and stories about robots; all the cool places they've been to and amazing tasks they've performed! Wickelgren, makes the story of the robot into an exciting adventure by discussing their evolution and advances in the field. As suggested by the subheading "Building a Breed of Mechanical Beasts", the book is not a purely factual and dryly scientific book about robots, but a playful one with pictures and examples of stunning robots whose accomplishments you'll have trouble believing.          Wickelgren begins by broadly defining a robot. Parts of a robot are named and the invention of computers (the robot's brain) is discussed. Wickelgren distinguishes between "puppet robots", stationary robots, mobile robots and "independent robots" each of which are further subdivided. The range of robots discussed is very wide, from moondozers to museum patrolling creatures and Hexapod walkers. One chapter dedicates itself to the robots of Marc Raibert who models his machines after animal movement allowing them to perform great athletic feats. The final chapter discusses two methods of creating autonomous robots: the traditional method in which robots have logic, reasoning and mapping strategies vs. another method which mimics animals by layering many goal-oriented behaviors on top of each other. If I had to find one flaw in this book, it would be that, in some places the writing isn't as eloquently written as it could be. Of course, this is a work of nonfiction and occasional awkward sentences do not distract the reader. I definitely recommend this book as a worthwhile, educational read—and a fun one too!