________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 20 . . . .May 25, 2007

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Robot Brains. (Robozones).

David Jefferis.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2007.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $10.40 (pbk.), $20.76 (cl.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-2900-6 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-2886-3 (rlb.).

Subject Headings:
Robots-Juvenile literature.
Robotics-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-6 / Ages 7-11.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

**** /4

   
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Robot Workers. (Robozones).

David Jefferis.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2007.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $10.40 (pbk.), $20.76 (cl.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-2899-3 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-2885-6 (rlb.).

Subject Headings:
Robots-Juvenile literature.
Robots, Industrial-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-6 / Ages 7-11.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

**** /4

   
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Robot Warriors. (Robozones).

David Jefferis.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2007.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $10.40 (pbk.), $20.76 (cl.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-2901-3 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-2887-0 (rlb.).

Subject Headings:
Robots-Juvenile literature.
Robotics-Military applications-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-6 / Ages 7-11.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

**** /4

   
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Robot Voyagers. (Robozones).

David Jefferis.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2007.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $10.40 (pbk.), $20.76 (cl.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-2898-6 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-2884-9 (rlb.).

Subject Heading:
Mobile robots-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-6 / Ages 7-11.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

**** /4

   

excerpt:

The first industrial robot was called the Unimate. It was dreamt up in 1956 by two inventors, George Devol and Joseph Engelberger. Devol and Engelberger used robots that had appeared in science fiction stories to inspire their designs. In 1961, after five years of development, the first Unimate joined the assembly line at a General Motors automobile plant.

This first Unimate was a "pick and place" machine. It picked up and stacked hot pieces of metal. The 4,000-pound (1, 815-lilogram), one-armed robot performed tasks by following a list of step-by-step instructions that were stored on a magnetic drum, an old form of computer memory.

Today, Unimates are among the most widely used industrial robots. (From
Robot Workers.)

 

It's hard to imagine that only a generation ago, manufacturing, surgery and even space exploration were all accomplished by humans using their hands to bend, screw, reach, measure and place everything correctly. The world operated very well, but people were always thinking about how work could be made easier, and faster. Robots were a concept for a long time before they became practical, but now, with automation, they are an integral part of the industrial process. They save money, and they save lives by performing everything from previously difficult, dangerous surgeries to retrieving suspected bombs. The possibility of life on other planets is being tested by robots which send valuable data about the cosmos back to earth for scientists to analyze.

     Robots used in space and scientific research capture the imagination of the public. The Canadarm, attached to the Space Shuttle, has given robotics a high profile. Similarly, robots used by the military, through unmanned spy planes or as mine detectors, engender a fascination with the engineering and the potential of what else can be done with robots. Children love to read and talk about robots. Crabtree's "Robozones" series will be a big hit with kids, especially young boys. The set of four books contains a lot of interesting information and great photographs that are thoroughly explained. The 32-page books have 12 two-page chapters. For example, Robot Brains discusses how robots work and how they are used by humans: in artificial intelligence, as toys, in transportation, in daily life, in competition and in concert with humans. The final chapter posits about how the science of robotics can be developed further in the defined subject areas. Each book discusses the history of robotics and computing in a helpful timeline on page 28. Bolded words are defined in a glossary on page 30-31, and an index on page 32 locates information. The text is written at a juvenile level but explains concepts thoroughly, and the white pages are brightly illustrated. The combination of interesting colour photographs with the text will make the book attractive to children at either age of the target age range. Captions are informative, and each chapter has a "Robofacts" sidebar with intriguing examples that show how robots are used to help people.

Another comet encounter was made the Deep Impact robot explorer in 2005, when it fired a penetrator probe at the comet Tempel 1. The probe hit the comet at a speed of more than 6.2 miles per second (10 km/s), with an impact force of nearly 5.5 tons (five tonnes) of explosives. Deep impact recorded information about the debris blown off the comet's surface. (From Robot Voyagers.)

     In the future, robots could be controlled by human brain waves.

In 2006, robots were used in experiments in which a person was put in a brain-scanning machine, normally used by medical staff in hospitals. The person made a hand gesture, such as the two-finger "V" sign. The brain wave created when the gesture was made was detected by the scanning machine and sent to a computer. (From Robot Workers).

     The science curriculum addresses the subjects of engineering and technology, and these books can be useful resources for students researching the history of robotics or searching for ideas to develop into a science fair project. Ultimately, children grow up, and interesting books such as these may be a catalyst for those who are considering areas of study at higher levels of education. This up-to-date series will be in high demand in a school library.

Highly Recommended.

Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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