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Robotics Demystified Paperback – October 20, 2004

11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

YOU DON'T NEED ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TO LEARN ROBOTICS!

Now anyone with an interest in robotics can gain a deeper understanding -- without formal training, unlimited time, or a genius IQ. In Robotics Demystified, expert robot builder and author Edwin Wise provides an effective and totally painless way to learn about the technologies used to build robots!

With Robotics Demystified, you master the subject one simple step at a time -- at your own speed. This unique self-teaching guide offers problems at the end of each chapter to reinforce what you have learned.

This fast and entertaining self-teaching course makes if fun and easy to learn about robots. Get ready to:

  • Learn essential electronics, mechanics, and programming concepts, one step at a time
  • Evaluate your progress with self-test questions
  • Discover the ins and outs of mobile, industrial, and research 'bots
  • Find out how to make your robot sense and think

So if you're looking for an enjoyable route into robotics, let Robotics Demystified be your shortcut!

About the Author

Edwin Wise is a software engineer with twenty-five years of experience. His expertise and interests range from electronics and microcontrollers to software development, AI, and robotics. He is the author of McGraw-Hill's Hands-On AI with Java as well as Applied Robotics II and Animatronics: A Guide to Animated Holiday Displays, published by Delmar Learning. He lives in Austin, Texas.

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Product Details

  • Series: Demystified
  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (October 20, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071436782
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071436786
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #887,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By William Cox on September 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
The folks at McGraw Hill graciously sent me a copy of Edwin Wise's new book, Robotics Demystified, for me to review. Unfortunately, I got it right around the time that I left for Hong Kong (study abroad) and I'm just now getting around to actually reviewing it.

The title calls it a "self-teaching guide" and the back cover reads; "Now anyone with an interest in robotics can gain a deeper understanding - without formal training, unlimited time, or genius IQ." So, I cracked open the book to find out if this is true or not.

Demystified is a relatively short 295 pages and contains 18 chapters. Example chapter names include, "Simple Machines", "Starting with Electronics", and "Intelligent Behavior." It is clear from the beginning that Wise is targeting this book to the complete novice. He says in the Preface, "There is no one 'robot technology,' so this book breaks the study of robots down into technology categories: the mechanics and framework of the robot, the electronics that make up its brain and nerves, and the control systems and programming that gives the robot life." Each chapter concludes with quiz questions to test your knowledge of each chapter.

The book starts off at a pretty low level (mechanical forces) and slowly (very slowly) builds on the knowledge. The forces chapter, and the following, "Simple Machines" discuss basic mechanical systems. All the mechanical systems described in the book deal only with LEGO pieces, so the reader never actually sees any other type of building materials. The mechanical systems are also presented as individual units and aren't ever assembled into a comprehensive "overall" system (aka, an actual robot).
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Edwin Wise on April 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
Mr. Cox writes a very good review and, while I of course enjoy the warm glow of 5-star reviews, his 3-stars make sense in his context. You might even say three stars are generous, if you wanted this book as a hands-on guide to making a full robot right now.

In his review he asks the rhetorical question "...including Cam Control and Card Control - who seriously uses this anymore?", and I have a practical answer.

Everybody! Cams can be found everywhere!

Okay, now a serious answer. I took the title seriously; I wanted to demystify robotics -- so I tried to find basic, fundamental illustrations to show the concepts involved in robotics. Cam control? To illustrate sequential control, a form of programming. Punch cards? As the camel's nose into the tent of information representation, or some such thing.

Was this the right approach or not? Only the individual reader can decide; as an author, I take a chance, I shoot my ideas out into the air, and sometimes I hit the target and sometimes I miss.

The main problem Mr. Cox seems to have with the text is the lack of complex circuits, examples, robot programming, or any actual complete robots! For these needs there are lots of excellent existing books on the shelves... in fact, any one robotic technology requires a full book to do it justice.

I didn't want to write yet another robot or electronics cookbook. Instead, I wrote this -- a book with a different goal and perspective than what I already saw on the market. A book that tries to demystify what it means to be a robot, and to provide a look at the technologies and ideas that go into the making of a robot, with a number of simple examples to illustrate them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By W Boudville HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
A breezy little book that gives a general explanation of how to make your own robots. Very much a hobbyist's flavour, with a hands on approach emphasised. Wise tries to take a lot of the mystique out of the subject. He downplays any complexity in the design. This may ultimately limit what you can get out of the book. But if you have never had any prior exposure to robotics, it is still not a bad choice for a first text.
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I am scheduled to teach a low-level lab on introductory robotics. I chose to use this book as the course textbook because it is what the instructor before me used, so I ordered a copy and read through most of it. I'm stuck using it for this semester but if I were to teach this course again I would look high and low for another book.

My two complaints are, #1. In trying to cover absolutely everything it ends up being very thin on anything specific. For example, including chapters on feedback control, electromagnetics and semiconductor physics provides the appearance of heft and technicality to the book but actually provides very little insight and practical application for the average person buying this book off the shelf. The schematics provided in chapter 10 (on capacitance) for a twin-T notch filter and diode-capacitor circuits look technical and interesting but what do they contribute to someone just picking up this book and interested in building a basic robot?

And my complaint #2. (which goes hand in hand with complaint #1), is that in trying to discuss complex topics with an "awe shucks, ain't this easy" folksy kind of approach, the author completely mystifies what is happening. For example, the discussion of discrete electron levels includes the insight that if one bangs on an electron with a hammer, this will cause the electron to jump to a higher energy shell. And that electrons can have an energy of "1" or "2" but not "1.25". I know what he's driving at but the exposition is confusing in a number of places. Or invoking Einstein's theory of relativity to explain a screw going into wood doesn't help either.

On the other hand I did enjoy the chapters on Simple Machines, Joints and Power Transmission.
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