Robotics: Discover the Science and Technology of the Future, by Kathy Ceceri (with 20 projects) (Nomad Press, August 2012, 128 pages) is a book that made me want to rip a greeting card apart (I've never gotten to say that before!). The ripping would be to get the little soundy thingy inside it, of course, to use in making my own rolling ball tilt sensor (another thing I never wanted to do before reading this book). And I want to take my sons to the dollar store, to buy small electronic devices to demolish, to the junk store to buy more things to demolish, and perhaps even to the hobby store, to buy things fresh and ready to use...
And the fact that it made me want to do these things is, I think, a testament to the interest in robotics that this book inspires.*
Opening Robotics and beginning to read, I was pretty much a blank slate, much more so than the ten or eleven year old, science-minded kid who is the target audience. I appreciated the introduction to the development of robots, was a tad overwhelmed by the many details in subsequent chapters on the nuts and bolts of robotics--the housing, the actuators, the effectors, the sensors, the controllers--but appreciated the many interesting sidebars (I liked seeing the binary alphabet, for instance). And, social scientist that I am, I loved the last chapter on "AI, Social Robots, and the Future of Robotics."
The projects seem fairly straightforward, and the sort of thing that a good parent would leap to assist the younger child in carrying out. The older child (ie my 12 year old) would probably be assisting me...
In short, this seems to me a pretty excellent next step for the kid whose just dipping their toes in the world of lego robotics, who might want to try their own hand at constructing their own robotic devices.
*Confession: I have never tinkered with anything involving electricity. My mother told me electricity was dangerous, and I, being a Good Child, dutifully feared it, and continue being deeply leery of it (does anyone else imagine house fires starting when electricity from faulty wiring somehow leaks into the walls??? Of course I know it doesn't, but still I look at the old, old walls of my house and wonder...)
disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher
This post is part of Non-fiction Monday, a recurring event in the Kidlitopshere. The host today is Simply Science.