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The Robotics Primer (Intelligent Robotics and Autonomous Agents series)

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ISBN-13: 978-0262633543
ISBN-10: 026263354X
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Editorial Reviews

Review

As with electronics and then computers, the world is about to be transformed yet again by the age of robotics. Every age needs its technology to be adopted by smart kids and dedicated hobbyists to provide the tide of people who will carry out the transformation. The Robotics Primer is a bridge between academia and everyperson, and its readers will become the crucibles of the new age.

(Rodney Brooks, Director, MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab)

Dr. Mataric has made a complex subject accessible to students of all ages. Students can learn in conjunction with hands-on experience using the robot workbook available online. This primer and workbook will give the student a first glimpse at the incredible possibilities of robotics.

(Helen Greiner, Chairman and Co-founder of iRobot)

The Robotics Primer is a rare combinationlively and enthusiastic as well as authoritative, written by one of the leaders of the field. If this doesn"t excite a new generation of roboticists, I'm not sure what will! A remarkable contribution: a fun, straightforward, and gentle introduction to robotics, that is accessible to virtually anyone interested in gaining such knowledge. I know of no better text to bootstrap aspiring roboticists into the language, knowledge, and culture of the field.

(Ronald C. Arkin, Regents Professor & Director of the Mobile Robot Laboratory, Georgia Institute of Technology)

This book is a very enthusiastic introduction to robotics. It is an excellent textbook for anyone designing or taking an undergraduate introductory course, and great reading for those interested in learning about robots.

(Daniela Rus, Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, MIT)

About the Author

Maja J. Matarić is Professor of Computer Science and Neuroscience and Director of the Center for Robotics and Embedded Systems at the University of Southern California, where she is also Codirector of the Robotics Research Lab and Senior Associate Dean for research in the Viterbi School of Engineering.
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Product Details

  • Series: Intelligent Robotics and Autonomous Agents series
  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (August 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 026263354X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262633543
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #295,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John M. Linebarger on May 31, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Based on years of course notes, Dr. Mataric has written a wonderfully accessible introduction to and survey of the entire field of robotics. Much collective wisdom from the history of this emerging discipline is contained in these pages. And the on-line workbook, with hands-on programming exercises, is a huge plus. Nothing else like this book exists in the robotics literature.

However, the reader should be warned that the book is rife with misprints. It is as if the book were not edited at all. MIT Press should be embarrassed at letting this book out the door in the state that it is in. Let's hope later printings correct the legion of errors. Were it not for the constant misprints, I would have given it 5 stars.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By swmagicien on February 8, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading this book but I was looking for a book that more specifically discussed programming robots. The book takes such a general approach to that subject that I can't imagine it could be very useful to anyone.

I will give the author some benefit of doubt as I did not perform any of the experiments because you need your own robot, such as an accessorized iRobot Create, in order to perform the experiments and exercises. A robot and controllers can easily set you back $300-$500.

The book does not actually get down to the fundamentals of designing and fabricating your own robot although it devotes adequate space to the discussion of the advantages of different sorts of motor drives and sensors.

It was disappointing to me that author carefully distinguishes between a physical robot and a computer emulation and devotes almost no time to robot simulations.

Most chapters have suggestions for further reading. If you don't need this book for a class, I'd suggest that you borrow a library copy, glance through it, and jot down some of those references and buy them instead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By arpard fazakas on March 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is general overview of robotics suitable as a starting point for those with very little background in the subject who want to learn more, including those who are simply curious about robots but don't necessarily want to build one. It does not go into great depth on any one topic but comprehensively covers all the relevant disciplines and technologies. It provides many links and suggestions for further investigation for those who wish to learn and do more in the field of robotics. In the preface the author talks about the book being aimed at K-12 and university students. I doubt too many students in elementary school would find this book understandable, but certainly by junior high school it would find a readership, and any adult with curiosity about the field regardless of their prior exposure to science, math, engineering, or technology, would find the book interesting. For those who already have some understanding of the field and are looking to actually do something in robotics, the book is superfluous, unless they're looking for links to such information, in which case the book would be a good portal. I found it fascinating.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book for beginners in the field of robotics and robotic programming. I teach an introductory class in robotic programming and use this book. While there are no sample programs or even much actual code, this book is excellent at presenting complex ideas in a simple way. Those just getting into the field are presented with concepts at a high level, which help place into context their actual programs. For example, when the book covers the topic of behavior based robots it helps my students understand how their simple robot programs (running a Lego robot) fit into the much broader field of robotics. The concepts in this book may be simple to those experienced in the field, but the book successfully casts a lot of complex theory into clearly understandable ideas.

On the other end of the spectrum, someone that may already be familiar with the academic literature and research can profit from this book because abstract ideas are presented in a simple manner. This can spark additional ideas because we often become so enmeshed in minutia we fail to step back and look at some of the fundamental ideas upon which our "minutia" are based. This book is a quick read for experts but is still a very good broad survey of the field. The bonus is that the book is not too expensive.

Because the field of robotics is changing so fast a book containing specific pieces of technology or code will likely be out of date within a year. I would rather have a book that presents a survey of the fundamental concepts behind the technology and code. That type of book goes out of date much more slowly. Don't let the publication date keep you from purchasing this book.

Good book. Get it.
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Format: Paperback
The core content of this book is reasonably interesting as a primer on robotics, but the writing style is extremely simplistic: very simple sentence structure, easy vocabulary, frequent reminders of what something means, etc.

As a professional software engineer curious about the robotics hardware side of things, I found this book painful to read, due to this writing style.

I can imagine, though, that it would be a good read for middle school, maybe high school students interested in robotics.
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