________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 6. . . .November 7, 2008


Robots: From Everyday to Out of This World.

Yes Mag. Editors.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2008.
48 pp., pbk. & hc., $8.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55453-204-9 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55453-203-2 (hc.).

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

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

**** /4



In 2001, surgeons in New York used a remote-controlled robot to remove a woman's gallbladder…4800 km (3000 mi.) away in France. Using this new long-distance robotic technology, doctors can stay at home and assist in operations far away. That makes surgery possible for people in hard-to-reach locations, such as battlefields, the developing world or even the International Space station (ISS).


Thanks to advances in computer science and technology, robots play an increasingly important role in modern society. Robots: From Everyday to Out of This World explores robots from their development and their uses to possible future applications. The book is divided into three main sections, the first of which provides a bit of history as well as an introduction to the basic parts of a robot - a computer "brain," a power source, cameras and sensors, and arms, wheels or legs. In the second section, which is the largest of the three, there are detailed examples of the many ways that robots help to make humans' lives easier. Topics include assembly line work in factories, dangerous or dirty work, such as defusing a bomb or detecting problems in a sewer pipe, rescue missions, space and underwater exploration, and robots' work in the home and workplace. For instance, in a hospital operating room, robots are able to perform precise movements that would be difficult for a surgeon to do while at one of the Honda company's offices, ASIMO, a humanoid robot, acts as a goodwill ambassador, greeting guests and showing them to meeting rooms as well as delivering a trolley of mail or snacks. Future applications of humanoids include acting as tourist guides, security guards, receptionists, cleaners and delivery 'bots. The book also covers androids (robots that look identical to humans), robot "pets" and their use in pet therapy, toys, and animatronic characters that often present information or entertain at museums and theme parks. Finally, the third section of the book takes a peek into the future of robot technology and possible uses. Here readers will learn about cyborgs, people with robot parts implanted in their bodies to restore function in specific body parts. Some examples include cochlear implants in the ear, pacemakers and lifelike prostheses for arms and legs.

      Enhanced by abundant coloured photographs and diagrams, the text is highly engaging from start to finish. A table of contents, a glossary and an index are provided.

Highly Recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

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

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