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Stiquito for Beginners: An Introduction to Robotics 1st Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0818675140
ISBN-10: 0818675144
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

This second book on StiquitoTM presents you with a unique opportunity to learn about the field of engineering, electronics, and robotics in an original way. This book provides you with the skills and equipment to build a very small robot, instructions on how to build electronic controls for your robot, and a robot kit.

The StiquitoTM robot is a small, inexpensive, six-legged robot that is unique not only by its cost but because its applications are limitless. This book is written at a level for High School and College students. It provides an engineering, electronics, and robotics curriculum, and presents experiments and projects that illustrates what they teach. It also illustrates Stiquito's uses in education by presenting lab exercises and describes the use of nitinol in classroom e4xperiments. Stiquito has already successfully been used to teach in primary, secondary, high school, and college curricula.

An accompanying teacher's manual that includes additional experiments and lists the science benchmarks and national standards associated with each chapter is also available.

About the Author

James M. Conrad received his bachelor's degree in computer science from the University of Illinois, Urbana, and his mater's and doctorate degrees in computer engineering from North Carolina State University.
He is currently an engineer at Ericsson, Inc., and an adjunct professor at North Carolina State University. He has serve as an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas and as an instructor at North Carolina State University. He has also worked at IBM in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and Houston, Texas; at Seer Technologies in Cary, North Carolina; at MCI in research Triangle Park, North Carolina; and at BPM Technology in Greenville, South Carolina.
Dr. Conrad is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery, Eta Kappa Nu, and IEEE Computer Society. He is also a Senior Member of IEEE. He is the author of numerous articles in the areas of robotics, parallel processing, artificial intelligence, and engineering education.

Jonathan W. Mills received his doctorate in 1988 from Arizona State University. He is currently an associate professor in the Computer Science Department at Indiana University and director of Indiana University's Analog VLSI and Robotics Laboratory, which he founded in 1992. Dr. Mills invented Stiquito in 1992 as a simple and inexpensive walking robot to use in multirobot colonies and with which to study analog VLSI implementations of biological systems. In 1994 he developed the larger Stiquito II robot, which is used in an eight-robot colony in his laboratory. Since 1992 Indiana University has distributed more than 3,000 Stiquito robots, leading to the idea for this book.
Dr. Mills is currently researching biological computation in the brain using tissue-level models of neural structures implemented with analog VLSI field computers. Field computers offer a powerful but simple paradigm for adaptive robotic control. They are small and light enough to be carried by Stiquito, yet still perform sensor fusion and behavioral control.
Dr. Mills has written a series of papers on his analog VLSI and robot designs; he has one patent with several others pending and applied for on his work. He also freely admits that Stiquito is just the start of what he hopes will be a series of improved and functional miniature robots, and he encourages the readers of this book to be inspired and build them.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-IEEE Computer Society Pr; 1 edition (December 27, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0818675144
  • ISBN-13: 978-0818675140
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.4 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,624,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is well written and includes a parts pack with all the hardware to make a working "Stiquito", a simple 6-legged walking robot. And it's not just for robotics folks -- Stiquito is also excellent for students or hobbyists interested in electronics, or even just model building.
The first 65 pages focus on the "how's" of the project - how electricity works, how engineers tackle the design process, and how the robotic "muscle" technology works.
The next 60 pages handle construction of the robot itself. While the construction isn't complex enough to require this much text, the authors have done an excellent job of ensuring that each step is covered in great detail with photos.
The last 40 pages are dedicated to experimentation with Stiquito. One project is a PC-based controller for the Stiquito, complete with diagrams, instructions, and a program for a parallel port interface to your PC. Another project adds the logic so the Stiquito can walk on its own. (Hardware is not included for these add-on projects.)
The heart of the project is a recent dicovery called nitinol - it's a special alloy wire that contracts when heated. This special property allows very simple robots to be built - thus the Stiquito.
I hope Amazon will post the cover photo soon, because a picture speaks a thousand words - meanwhile, check out the cover of the advanced Stiquito book. Imagine an ant-looking creature with a 4" plastic body and 6 wire legs - that's how simple it is. There's not much more to it except the thin nitinol wires that actuate the legs and the power leads that feed them.
One of the appealing things about Stiquito is how much creativity can be added to the project.
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By A Customer on January 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
As an avid robotics hobbyist, I found the book to be extremely informative and thoughtfully written. The introductory sections on electronics, will provide the basics that anyone would need to understand the principles presented. I think it is pure genius to devise a kit that can be physically incorporated into the book - it is a real bargain. The details regarding the assembly of the Stiquito were very clear and explanatory. I highly recommend this book as an introduction for anyone that is interested in robotics.
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Format: Paperback
What other robotics book comes with its own robot? That is what makes this book so cool. It takes some skill to assemble, but it walks once you're done. The book gives you the building instructions for the robot and features articles written by those inspired by Stiquito to create more sophisticated units based on its design. The chapters on the SCORPIO robot illustrate how much a group of students can be inspired to achieve! Definitely a must-have book for those interested in robotics.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's revolutionary that this book contains a robot kit along with instructions on how to build it, all for less than $50. But once you get past that, you're introduced to the cruel reality that engineers and education don't get along well. Most great engineers have advanced so far along their particular path that they've "forgotten" the basics. (All one needs to do is look at the "...for Dummies" phenomenon to realize that this is true of experts in many, if not most fields.)
And so we have here a book which actually breaks down the various kinds of engineers and what they do, as though speaking to a junior high school audience with no real understanding of what an engineer is, which within ten pages of the remedial discussion goes on to throw around engineering terms without the slightest attempt to define them or explain what they are.
Do you know what an "actuator" is? You won't find the term defined here, but it'll be used constantly. How about a "power bus"? At one point the authors mention half-a-dozen advanced robotic terms in a row with the only reference being a half-a-dozen of their other books. Swell.
This creates an odd mixture of fluff and highly technical material. Early on, a suggested exercise involves considering Isaac Asimov's famous Three Laws of Robotics. (A robot cannot harm a human, etc.) Fun stuff, but about as pertinent to the subject as "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea" is to a text on marine biology.
On the other hand, a more practical skill, like how to inventory the parts of your kit (not as easy as it might sound considering three of the parts are, essentially, wire) is completely ignored. And when putting the thing together we constantly wondered whether we were doing it correctly.
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Format: Paperback
This book reads easy, and the instructions on building the robots are clear and concise.
The robot-kit that comes with the book is a little disappointing. Building it took me 4-5 hours of concentrated effort, and it was quite fun to do. The result is not a smoothly walking robot though. Using the manual controller, you control two sets of three legs. If you activate one set of legs, they jerk backwards in a an attempt to move the 'bot forward. As one of the other reviewers said: "This robot will not impress your friends, even if they are very geeky".
There is a good side to this though. The disappointing results with the basic Stiquito prompted me to start building one of the PC controllers in the book, and I've set my hopes on "Boris", a larger six-legger that actually lifts its legs before moving them.
In conclusion, don't buy this book expecting you'll build an impressive robot with the kit. Buy it to learn some basic robot-building skills or to get experience with muscle-wire. My rating is for the BOOK, not for the kit.
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