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1. Probabilistic Robotics (Intelligent
2. Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution
3. 123 Robotics Experiments for the
4. LEGO Mindstorms NXT Power Programming:
5. Introduction to Robotics: Mechanics
6. Build Your Own Humanoid Robots
7. Programming Microsoft® Robotics
8. Professional Microsoft Robotics
9. The Robotics Primer (Intelligent
10. Robotics Demystified
11. Robotics: Modelling, Planning
12. Robot Programming : A Practical
13. Robotic Micro-Assembly
14. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Robotic
15. Springer Handbook of Robotics
16. Theory of Applied Robotics: Kinematics,
17. Linux Robotics: Programming Smarter
18. Distributed Control of Robotic
19. Robotic Explorations: A Hands-On
20. Computational Principles of Mobile

1. Probabilistic Robotics (Intelligent Robotics and Autonomous Agents)
by Sebastian Thrun, Wolfram Burgard, Dieter Fox
Hardcover: 667 Pages (2005-09-01)
list price: US$60.00 -- used & new: US$48.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0262201623
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Probabilistic robotics is a new and growing area in robotics, concerned with perception and control in the face of uncertainty. Building on the field of mathematical statistics, probabilistic robotics endows robots with a new level of robustness in real-world situations.

This book introduces the reader to a wealth of techniques and algorithms in the field. All algorithms are based on a single overarching mathematical foundation. Each chapter provides example implementations in pseudo code, detailed mathematical derivations, discussions from a practitioner's perspective, and extensive lists of exercises and class projects. The book's Web site, http://www.probabilistic-robotics.org, has additional material.

The book is relevant for anyone involved in robotic software development and scientific research. It will also be of interest to applied statisticians and engineers dealing with real-world sensor data. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Robotics Reference
This textbook is the standard reference for probabilistic robotics in the areas of navigation and mapping. One of the authors is the director of the Stanford AI lab and headed the winning entry in the DARPA Grand Challenge in 2007, which needless to say means he understands and has developed many of the techniques in the book. The algorithms are laid out and explained at different depths of understanding, which sometimes allows them to be used without reading the rigorous mathematical derivations that are included. Within the first week of having this book, I found that my method of estimating odometry in the prediction step of a Kalman filter could be improved with a different estimation. In addition, since the book provided a mathematical derivation, I could compare the two techniques and explain under what assumptions my approximation fails to do well.

3-0 out of 5 stars plenty of math and theory ....
This book has plenty of math and theory in regards to state estimation and SLAM.However, it is really lacking in details and examples of implementation.Many of the problems at the end of the chapters rely on material from the next chapters.Most of what I learned about Kalman and Extended Kalman filters in the past made more sense as I read this book.However, new material such as particle filters was difficult to understand from the text alone.I had to look elsewhere for examples of implementation/tutorials.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best books that I have ever read.
This book is essential for anyone that works or make some research on Robotics, especially on Slam.

4-0 out of 5 stars Delivers even more than it promises
This is really an amazing book - it more than fulfilled my expectations.
It starts from the very basics of probability theory and clearly derives
Kalman Filtering, Particle Filtering, Probabilistic Motion and Probabilistic
Perception in the first 6 chapters.From there it moves on to talk about
Localization and Mapping completely separately (which I appreciated, since
the two topics are far easier to comprehend independently) in chapters 7 and
8 and then finally introduces SLAM (the main topic of the book) in chapter
9.From there it goes on to discuss various SLAM algorithms and implementations,
and finally rounds out with planning and control (that is, the practical
application of SLAM algorithms).

I can't imagine a more well-researched academic work.Every point is backed
up with examples and illustrations, and every algorithm is derived rigorously.
Even better, the mathematical derivations are set apart from the main text
so that a more "casual" reader can skip over the derivations and still get
some benefit from the text (and believe me, the math parts of this book are
very involved!).The authors assume a working knowledge of trigonometry,
calculus and linear algebra (although you could likely make some sense of the
book even if you're rusty in any of these areas).However, since the book
is about probability, you'll probably need some background in probability
theory to get any value from this text.Chapter 2 contains a refresher on
probability theory, but I doubt it would be enough to decipher the later
chapters if you had no background in the subject.I found myself having to
go back and look up the details of Bayes Rule and multivariate conditional
probability more than once.

My only gripe with this book is that each chapter includes suggested exercises
(good) but no answers/cross-check (bad).Especially considering the open-ended
nature of the exercises, it's almost not worth attempting them (or even reading
them), since you'll never know if you got the right answer, or were even on the
right track.There's no "student supplement" (at least not as I write this),
so the exercises are fairly pointless.

However, that aside, this is one of the best academic books I've read in a very
long time.I had been struggling through academic papers from IEEE and ACM on
the topic of SLAM, and only comprehending about half of it before I picked up
"Probabilistic Robotics".After reading this book carefully (I actually had
to read it twice to get it all to sink in), I'm actually zipping through the
academic papers, and understanding everything I read.You couldn't ask for a
better introduction to probabilistic robotics and SLAM.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
I consider this bookthe most valuable resource in the field!If you are really interested in implementing kalman filter localization, particle filter localization or SLAM algorithms, this book really will help you. This book was my reference during my Master Thesis and the algorithms are so comprenhensive that I hadn't any problem to put them running.
I think the autors made a really good effort to explain complexmathematical concepts as clearly as possible. Great Job!

... Read more

2. Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century
by P. W. Singer
Paperback: 512 Pages (2009-12-29)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$6.02
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003YDXDEU
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
"riveting and comprehensive, encompassing every aspect of the rise of military robotics." --Financial Times

In Wired for War, P. W. Singer explores the great­est revolution in military affairs since the atom bomb: the dawn of robotic warfare. We are on the cusp of a massive shift in military technology that threatens to make real the stuff of I, Robot and The Terminator. Blending historical evidence with interviews of an amaz­ing cast of characters, Singer shows how technology is changing not just how wars are fought, but also the politics, economics, laws, and the ethics that surround war itself. Traveling from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan to modern-day "skunk works" in the midst of suburbia, Wired for War will tantalize a wide readership, from military buffs to policy wonks to gearheads.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (58)

4-0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and well researched
If you're looking for a comprehensive look at how robotics and artificial intelligence are changing the military, then this is an excellent reference book. Because the pages are packed with information, it can be a bit of a dense read at times. I might have liked a bit more narrative in between the facts, just to give my brain a rest and to connect with some of the key players behind all of this technology. Make no mistake, though, this book is solidly researched and thorough in its coverage of the topic.

4-0 out of 5 stars Joystick Warriors
Well apparently wars in the future will be fought by detached from reality sociopathic nerds with videogame joysticks. Military people "in the know" that were interviewed see the writing on the wall and acknowledge that the role of the soldier will be hugely different in the not so distant future. Drones will make the fighter pilot obsolete. Robotics will eventually make the common foot soldier obsolete. The future military could easily be pencil neck geeks thousands of miles from the action controlling drones and robots like they are playing a videogame. They are already doing this but it hasn't been perfected to the point where they can phase out manned jet fighters or the common infantry soldier.

The most interesting thing in Wired for War may be when he goes into how science fiction has influenced the development of military technology. He takes the position that science fiction inspired scientists into making these things reality. This may be true in some cases but I also lean toward a lot of science fiction being what is known as predictive programming where the world controllers use science fiction to psychologicly condition the masses into accepting certain things and conditions. Its undeniable that they sociologicly and politically (just read H.G Wells Open Conspiracy, Huxleys Brave New World or Orwells 1984) so why not with technology too.

4-0 out of 5 stars Convincing
Watch out the Terminator is coming! I knew we will have more of these system soon. He convinced me there will be robots all around us, in large numbers.This branch of technology is on the cusp of blooming. I see people accepting new devices of convenience everyday.We might not notice, until they spew sleeping gas in our face.

5-0 out of 5 stars The future of war?
"People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do." Isaac Asimov

Lot of the advanced new robot weaponry influencedand or inspired by science fiction writing. For example I Robot a company out of Burlington MA is named after the Asimov novel I robot.

Many jobs are lost and have gone Robot. War is no exception. The author mentions there are 12,000 Robots operating in Iraq. Lot of AI being used in war.

Unnamed robots used more often.FCS "Future combat program." The way of the future.The unmanned robot takes never miss and the jet fight pilotis on the way out.

"And when they start fighting no organized force could stand against them" *the Robots)

By the year 2025 war "largely robotic"

Already we hear often about Al Quida being taken out by unnamed drones with cool names. Human supervised robots.

Can go wrong the AGEIS system took out an Iranian Jet...that was a long time ago.

The strangest Robot discussed in this book was the vampire bot that runs on blood. Bizarre.

3-0 out of 5 stars Is There a Pilot on Board the Plane?
Japanese make robots to take care of elderly people and to fill the dreams of a society when children are becoming a rarity. Americans build robots to make war. Both uses make Europeans profoundly wary, as most people on the Old Continent have serious misgivings about the use of armed force and don't want to surrender part of their lives to machines.

But robots, be they in their caring version or as military auxiliaries, are already among us, and they are here to stay. This fact alone came to me as a surprise. Contrary to other online reviewers, I don't read popular books about war and about science, and I voluntarily limit my access to the printed media and to TV. In addition, I haven't received any extended training in technology or in defense. As a result, I have big holes in my understanding of these two important subjects. I didn't know drones were of such widespread use in combat zones, and I wasn't aware that robots had become an integral part of EOD bomb squads in Iraq. In fact, my knowledge of unmanned vehicles was limited to the plane models and remote-controlled car toys of my childhood. To that extent, this book was an eye opener as well as a badly needed course tutorial on the topic of war and technology.

The biggest shock was to learn that, if we believe P.W. Singer's projections, air force pilots are soon to lose their jobs to machines. Already reconnaissance missions are best handled by unmanned airplanes. They can stay alert for longer missions and, depending on the plane's size and shape, fly higher or peek from closer angles. Already drones can strike a target with surgical precision: of the top twenty al Qaeda militant leaders the United States sought out in 2008, eleven were killed by drone strikes. The next step might be the unmanned fighter jet. In fact, the only thing that holds a modern jet back is the man in the machine. The gravitational pressures unleashed when a fighter plane makes high-speed turns or accelerations can knock a pilot out. Without the pilot, the jet could climb higher, dive deeper, accelerate faster, and outmaneuver any manned aircraft. Nowadays the pilot isn't of much use anyway: mostmoves are automatic, and the airplane steers itself with only occasional input from the man in the driver's seat. This could be done from a distance, as is already the case with unmanned combat aerial vehicles or UCAV. An unmanned jet could work at digital speed and react to an incoming danger much faster than humans. In the world of aerial warfare, in which microseconds are the difference between life and death, this could not only save lives, but also give the drones-equipped air force complete hegemony over the skies.

But outsourcing the pilot's job to a machine raises a lot of issues. The US Air Force's professional identity is very much wrapped in the idea of piloting planes, and fighter planes at that. Indeed, over half of the air force's generals are fighter pilots, as has been every single air force chief of staff but one since 1982. So being a fighter pilot is not justin the air force leadership's organizational DNA, it is also seen as the pathway to advancing in the ranks. Now their professional identity is being challenged by computer geeks and dull office workers who have a radically different experience of war. The drones may be flying over Iraq, but they are launched out of a base in the Persian Gulf, and flown by men sitting behind a computer in Nevada. Fighting from a cubicle and commuting from home everyday changes the meaning of going to war. The fighting teams communicating through internet chat rooms are less like a true "band of brothers" and more like most of the Facebook "friendship" groups. The authority is being challenged, both from below by technicians having full control of their machines, and from above by commanders in chief who want to micromanage surgical strikes and battalion moves.

The pattern with unmanned planes in the early twenty-first century seems to be mirroring what happened with manned planes in the early twentieth century. There was initial skepticism and opposition to them in general, followed by limited use in observation and spotter role. Soon, however, they began to be used for ad hoc attack roles, and aerial warfare became an integral part of armed conflicts. Indeed, the most apt historic parallel to Iraq may well turn out to be World War I. Strange and exciting new technologies, which had been science fiction just years earlier, were introduced and then used in great numbers on the battlefield. But it then took more than a decade to develop new rules and doctrines on how to use these new technologies most effectively. Akin to the intense interwar doctrinal debates of the 920s and 1930s over how to use tanks and air planes, there is not yet agreement on how best to fight with the new robotic weapons. Right now, two emerging doctrines are developing, referred to in shorthand as the "mothership" and the "swarm", but new directions or a combination of the two could also emerge.

I was also surprised to learn how much the US military sets the agenda in robotics. The primary player in the world of funding new research in IT, computers, and robotics is DARPA, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. DARPA's overall mission is to support fundamental research on technologies that might be common twenty to forty years from now, and to try to make them happen earlier to serve the needs of the US military today. For all the claims that "big government" can never match the private sector, DARPA ha an impressive track record. The internet, email, cell phones, computer graphics, weather satellites, fuel cells, lasers, night vision, and the Saturn V rockets that first took man to the moon all originated at DARPA. Especially since 9/11 and the military operations in Afghanistan and in Iraq, the US military has gone into a huge research and buying spree, with a particular focus for anything unmanned. The US military funds as much as eighty percent of all AI research in the United States. Even robotics laboratories in Japan, a country with a pacifist constitution and a deep affection for domestic robots, receive research fundings from US military agencies.

As a book geared to a general audience, Wired for War has its limits. The author tries to please too many publics and puts in a little bit of everything, at the risk of losing focus and accuracy. Some references to popular culture such as StarTrek episodes or sci-fi novels were entirely lost to me. For a book that deals with moral issues, it is rather sloppy and cavalier on the ethical side, and it sometimes verges on the "war porn" voyeurism that it is condemning. Asimov's remark that "science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom" rings very true, and P.W. Singer often sounds more like the wild-eyed geek than the experienced sage. Singer fails in his attempt to provide the general reader with a moral map to navigate the world of automated battlefields, but he certainly goes a long way in exploring this uncharted terrain. ... Read more

3. 123 Robotics Experiments for the Evil Genius (TAB Robotics)
by Myke Predko
Paperback: 355 Pages (2004-01-23)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$11.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0071413588
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Text provides 123 experiments to bring out the genius in every basement hobbyist. Introduces readers to robotics, electronics, and programming; so you don't need to be a science whiz to get started. Shows how you can create simple robots and models using inexpensive materials and tools found around the house and workroom. Includes a printed circuit board. Softcover. DLC: Robotics. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Cool Stuff
This is an excellant intro to basic robotics circuits. This will not turn you into a robotic engineer, but will certainly peek your interest. Rather than aproach the subject as boring chapters, each section is broken-up into singular experiments that culminate into one grand capstone project.

2-0 out of 5 stars too many mistakes
I agree with some of the other reviews. There is some helpful information in
this book but it's nothing which can't be found elsewhere.
It might be worth reading but I suggest skipping the
examples since they contain too many errors, and aren't
spaced or documented well enough for easy understanding and debugging.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not too helpful, kind of boring.
I was really excited when I read the table of contents of this book, as I thought it was going to talk about everything I wanted to know.It turned out that it was really boring.I gave it a good try, and forced myself to push through chapter after chapter.I read, but skipped many of the experiments, because they were set up to fail, to show you how something Couldn't be done. For example, one "experiment" on the construction of a robot's frame, was glueing pipe cleaners as joints between 2 tubes of cardboard.It went on to build a whole cardboard tube man, just to show it wouldn't stand up.Needless to say, I'm glad I didn't spend my day constructing that, as I would not have learned much about robotics.I couldn't tell if this was for kids, because it got somewhat complicated.I did buy it in a University bookstore though.

The hardest part of the whole thing, was buying all the parts.Some of them are listed in a way that nobody else lists them, and decoding them took a while.It also, unfortunately, like many robotics books, asks you to spend quite a bit of money on parts.This book pretty much just got so boring, that I began to question if it would actually explain the things that it claimed it would.I ended up giving up on it, and it set me back a bit on my robot experiments, just because I was so bored by it.It also set me back a bit of money for parts.

If you are looking for something to explain things in a fun, understandable, and productive way, look elsewhere.

1-0 out of 5 stars Didn't get a PCB Board
It's hard to give an objective review, as I didn't get the PCB Board with this book. I emailed McGraw-Hill, going to see why it didn't have one.If I can't get any help there, I'm going to contact Amazon about this....

Update:I got a response back from McGraw-Hill, these are no longer going to come packed with a PCB board.They said something about a CDRom, but I didn't get one with my book. This is really uncool, as most of the experiments are predicated on having that PCB.So, I would urge anyone who was really considering this to perform the experiments to pass it up.I would not recommend this book to anyone!

4-0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag
The book doesn't as much explain how to build a robot as it explains robots by their building blocks; electronics, microcontrollers, sensors, motors etc.

This is both the book's greatest strength and its greatest weakness; if you take the time and effort to go through each example, you will gain a solid understanding of electronics; understanding you need to have in order to design and build (as opposed to assemble one from a kit) a robot.

The drawback is that it is time-consuming to go through all the experiments, and it is not always obvious why a given experiment is relevant to robotics.Also, unless you already have drawers full of electronics components and tools, it's going to be quite expensive to buy everything you need -- about $150.

Unfortunately, the author didn't provide a good parts list for the book, so unless you buy a kit with all the components (see link that another reviewer provided), you'll probably need to order parts from several sources.

It is not clear what audience the author is writing for; one chapter may be very basic and simple, while the next is very advanced.

Finally, the book would have benefited from a more thorough proof-reading before going to press; there are some annoying typos and errors in circuit schematics. ... Read more

4. LEGO Mindstorms NXT Power Programming: Robotics in C
by John C. Hansen
Paperback: 560 Pages (2009-09-01)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$18.03
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0973864974
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

With fun projects, tips, instructions, illustrations, and programs, this comprehensive companion to the powerful Mindstorms NXT robot kit will help LEGO popularize robotics in the way that the iPod did for digital music. This second edition to programming on the NXT helps users make the most of the latest LEGO Mindstorms NXT release for further robot enhancements. Included is an ingenious set of projects that explore the complete arsenal of basic and advanced NXT functionality. At the heart of these projects is Versa, a versatile mobile robot platform that utilizes modular attachments.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Explains a difficult topic
I bought this book as an experiment because I really wanted to teach my students to use Java on their NXTs. I was surprised by how well the book explains C programming on the NXT and delighted by the many excellent examples. We were able to get a program running on the first day. We did not use but I was impressed by the many excellent, illustrated examples of construction.

C programming is hard for students to grasp and they eventually gave up but this was not the book's fault.

5-0 out of 5 stars NXT Power Programming
This is an excellent book written by someone who was involved in-depth with NXT programming as the NXT product evolved.Lots of good examples of C code will speed your learning curve.

5-0 out of 5 stars Real programming power for the NXT
If you are interested in programming your NXT beyond what NXT-G can do (the environment that comes with the retail kit) this is the book for you. You don't have to change out the firmware as you do for other text based programming languages, so you can continue to use NXT-G. In fact both types of programs can reside on the NXT at the same time.

There is a great chapter giving details on the Bricx integrated development environment and all the tools that come with it. It is very complete.

The versa bot that is detailed in the book is a great platform to add to and make your own modifications to. I have already made several of my own modules for it and wrote programs to take advantage of them with NXC.
There are several other bots to be built in the book that I have yet to get built, as I am still adding to the versa bot, but I definitely will though. The etch a sketch one looks really cool and I am sure programming it will teach me a lot.

Thanks should go out to John Hansen (the author) for all the contributions he has made, and continues to make to the Mindstorms Robotic community. The Mindstorms is a great platform to aid the young in learning and teaching the old to stay young.

5-0 out of 5 stars Getting More from this Powerful Robot Kit
Summary: An excellent'next step' for getting the most from this powerful computer system

Mindstorms NXT is robot building tool from Lego. The centrepiece is a large "brick" containing a 32-bitARM7 computer - the kind of computer you might find in a PDA or a Smartphone. The kit includes a graphical programming environment capable of quite complex programs as well as being accessible to beginners and youngsters. The kit also includes motors and sensors, wheels, gears, and a whole lot of technic-style Lego to hold them together.

John Hansen's book takes all of these components and organises them in a coherent and easily understandable fashion. He describes how to use the various components and explains the sensors (that range from a simple contact switch to a sophisticated ultrasonic distance sensor). However, the real strength of the book is in its approach to programming of the system.

Power Programming describes how to maximise the capability of the kit by programming it using a conventional, textual programming language that is close to standard C. This is both more natural to anyone who already has a smattering of programming knowledge and, ultimately, capable of more complex and much faster programs for the NXT. Best of all, the system that Hansen describes is a free, open-source toolkit usable on Mac, PC and Linux; just download it from the WWW and you're ready to roll.

NXC (Not eXactly C) and the complementary assembler, NBC (NeXT Byte Code) are explained in a clear and authoritative way (Hansen is the author of the compilers too) before the book explores the rest of the system. Each item is introduced in the context of a real robot (you can build these from the step by step instructions) but in a style that explains how it actually works; so the reader is left understanding how to apply each item in their own programs. Later chapters dig deeply into advanced programming of the sensors and communication between several robots without ever becoming inaccessible. And, lest I have made it all sound too dry and worthy, there are detours to examine such things as playing Space Invaders on the NXT and producing a Bedroom security system and remote controlled car.

This is a well-written, clearly presented and very well produced book from an acknowledged expert. It's not for young children but anyone with a little programming knowledge and an interest in computers and robots will find it entirely indispensable. Just beware that, while the tools it describes are free, it could well convince non-owners that they need to buy a NXT!

5-0 out of 5 stars Empowering resource for NXT fans
While the official NXT-G programming language included in the LEGO Mindstorms NXT set works well for many people, what if you want to increase your programming potential or simply prefer a text-based language rather than a graphical one? John C. Hansen's book provides the answer to both of these questions by teaching you how to program the NXT in NeXT Byte Codes (NBC) and Not eXactly C (NXC).

The book begins with an introduction to some basic programming concepts and then shows you how to set up NBC/NXC. Since these unofficial languages are based on the standard firmware, you don't have to download custom firmware to your microcomputer, making setup a breeze. Chapters 2 through 4 discuss the NXT hardware, NXT firmware, and basic construction concepts, respectively. If you're new to the NXT set, you'll find these chapters helpful.

Chapter 5 covers the BricxCC IDE, which supports NBC, NXC, and a number of other languages. This is definitely one of my favorite chapters. BricxCC is an incredibly powerful but user-friendly program, and this chapter shows how to effectively use and customize BricxCC. Perhaps the most interesting chapter in the book is Chapter 6, which discusses free NXT utilities that perform miscellaneous functions.

The real power programming begins in Chapters 7 and 8, which cover NXC and NBC. If, like me, you've programmed the RCX microcomputer in Not Quite C (NQC), you'll be glad to see that Hansen created NXC with a lot of the same features and same "feel." Naturally, these chapters are most easily understood if you have a background in C or programming in general, but such knowledge is not required. The book assumes you are a beginner and explains fundamental programming concepts. If you need more information about a basic concept that the book doesn't discuss in great detail (for example, using arrays), you could easily consult an online resource.

Chapters 9 through 16 teach you how to build a basic robot (Versa), program basic and advanced NXT outputs, program basic and advanced NXT inputs, create an intruder alert robot, explore "games that people play" on the NXT, and control an NXT robot remotely. It is through these chapters that you get practical experience in using NBC/NXC.

In conclusion, if you're looking for an effective and user-friendly text-based programming language for the NXT, then this book is for you. NBC, NXC, and the BricxCC IDE are outstanding resources, and this book teaches not only the basics but also quite advanced concepts (which will be of interest to expert users out there). Bear in mind, however, that this isn't primarily a book of building instructions. Its purpose is to teach you how to effectively program robots--and it accomplishes that purpose very well.
... Read more

5. Introduction to Robotics: Mechanics and Control (3rd Edition)
by John J. Craig
Hardcover: 408 Pages (2004-08-06)
list price: US$115.00 -- used & new: US$65.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0201543613
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Now in its third edition, Introduction to Robotics by John J. Craig provides readers with real-world practicality with underlying theory presented. With one half of the material from traditional mechanical engineering material, one fourth control theoretical material, and one fourth computer science, the book covers rigid-body transformations, forward and inverse positional kinematics, velocities and Jacobians of linkages, dynamics, linear control, non-linear control, force control methodologies, mechanical design aspects and programming of robots. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

1-0 out of 5 stars Book Fell Apart!
Opened the book for the first time when it arrived and it cracked, then sections of pages began to break apart and fall out.Had to three hole punch the whole book in order to keep it together.

2-0 out of 5 stars Modified DH convention and poor explainations ruin it
I had nothing but problems with this book. First off, Craig uses modified DH conventiom, not the standard convention. Anyone that has used any non Craig book needs to know that ahead of time as Craig mentions "other methods" in passing but makes it sound like his the official version, which it's not. At least not outside industrial robotics for sure. His explainations are inadequate at best. He uses methods for dynamics that are more computer code oriented, and don't really give you a feel for what is happening as a whole. It's definitely not how you would want to do these problems on paper. And if all you had to learn dynamics from was this book, the method is probably the least of your concerns. And some examples would be nice. I gave it two stars because if you treat the book as an industrial robotics primer and not a primary source of robotics equations, it might not be so bad. It does have some interesting to read sections and it did introduce me to a matlab toolbox which I found useful, although it does not always play nice with the modified DH, it does have a modified option for some of its features.

1-0 out of 5 stars Good introduction but poor on kinematics
The first 3 chapters begin very well giving the reader decent examples with how to derive frame assignments and forward kinematic matrices. Starting with chapter 4, the book begins to descend into a nightmare of ambiguity and frustration. Typos begin cropping up every where. The author then begins to take short cuts with deriving particular formulas with no clear explanation how those formulas are derived. One example is when the author begins to explain how to solve for an inverse kinematics problem and says to use the law of cosines, but then writes a formula that is not the law of cosines with no clarification how he came to that point. Homework problems are also given, but do not reflect the few examples given within the chapter leaving the reader in a very difficult position and in most cases unable to solve the problem. I would highly recommend getting a book other than this one. If it is required for a class, make sure the teacher has sufficient supplemental material that will augment the many failings this text has.

5-0 out of 5 stars Robotics Instructor - Oklahoma
I teach a introductory course in robotics that is targeted for the senior/graduate level student in Electrical/Mechanical Engineering /Computer Science. The goal is to understand the kinematics, dynamics and ultimately the control of robotic manipulators. Unequivocally, this is one of the best books in introductory robotics! This book is not for the robotic tinkerer or the amateur, but for the engineer who is desirous of obtaining a sound understanding of the principles involved.

In the past four years that I have taught this subject, the student feedback has been consistent: The mechanical engineers think the controls part is too tough and the electrical engineers feel that the mechanics portion is too dense! This is the beauty of Mechatronics! One can only appreciate the material if he/she has a good understanding of both the mechanical aspects as well as the electrical aspects of the robot.
In the class that I teach, the students work on a group based term project where they implement the concepts on an actual manipulator. The students very quickly realise that "hobby"-ist approach to robotics will not work and the concepts of kinematics and dynamics are vital to the proper control of robots.

All in all, this book is an absolute "must read" for anyone serious about robotics, especially those desirous of pursuing graduate study in robotics or related areas.

1-0 out of 5 stars The worst textbook I've ever had.
I had this book for an Intro to Robotics class I took. And I must say, this is by far the worst textbook I've ever read. It is dense, confusing, and hard to read. There are typos everywhere. When it is laying out problems and equations, it likes to skip a few steps and assume you can follow along. To sum it up, this book is useless.

Seriously, if you are going to take a course and this book is required, don't take the course. If the prof was any good they wouldn't pick this book. ... Read more

6. Build Your Own Humanoid Robots : 6 Amazing and Affordable Projects (TAB Robotics)
by Karl Williams
Paperback: 211 Pages (2004-03-26)
list price: US$26.00 -- used & new: US$13.41
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0071422749
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This book features great droids, indeed! This unique guide to sophisticated robotics projects brings humanoid robot construction home to the hobbyist. Written by a well-known figure in the robotics community, "Build Your Own Humanoid Robots" provides step-by-step directions for 6 exciting projects, each costing less than $300. Together, they form the essential ingredients for making your own humanoid robot. If you are serious enough to interest robot professionals, the plans inside offer serious fun to hobbyists. They give you the power to breathe life into a mechanical being with amazingly human qualities, and feature all the instructions you need for programming the inexpensive chips that give your humanoid brains and sensitivity.It features 6 astounding projects: Robotic Arm, Wrist, and Hand - build a versatile robotic arm system to give your humanoid the ability to manipulate objects/ A PIC microcontroller provides motor control and feedback; Personal Computer Interface - learn how to interface the robot arm or any other robotics project to a personal computer for complete control and feedback; Visual Basic Control Software - develop flexible bidirectional communications software to control the robot arm or other projects from your personal computer; Voice Recognition Control - make your robotic arm and walking robot obey your spoken commands with this completely embedded control system that can also be used for many other applications; Expressive, Speaking Face - enable your robot to show happiness, surprise, excitement, anger, and more, as it speaks any words you transmit electronically; and, Bipedal Walking Robot - it's your own amazing small scale, fully autonomous robot!Learn about sensors, analog-to-digital converters, DC motor control, microcontrollers, feedback, and control systems. Also included is the background information regarding construction materials, test equipment, printed circuit board fabrication, microcontrollers, and programming and design considerations needed to create the humanoid robot projects. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

1-0 out of 5 stars Another disappointment... :(
The way this book is put togther is what leaves me feeling a bit ripped off. I feel the author and/or publisher owe me some money! At least one third of the book was copied over from manufacturer's free publications. If you want to read a list of available programming instructions contained within the language written about in the book just vist the mfg web site and save your money. And, Hex listings in the book! Give me a break! You can read what this book has to offer in under an hour! This book stinks...

5-0 out of 5 stars Detailed and inspirational - worth the read!
Karl does a good job of leading you through the basic concepts of humaniod robotics in this well written, well annotated and very descriptive text on the subject. His detailed plans are easy to follow and his programs are well written and well explained throughout. He provides specific recommendations for parts as well as vendors and spends time explaining his choices. If you're interested in learning not only how to write useful PIC applications for robotics but also how to build robotics that implement those applications, then this is the book for you. This is a must have for your library of robotics books!

4-0 out of 5 stars An amazing book for robotic beginners.
The most interesting part of this book is on its pratical topics. A lots of briliant ideas can be learned from this book, especially for those who would like to build up their first robotic project from scratch.

Things that need to be improved are on the materials used for the projects in this book. Less heavy duty tools required would be nice. The discussions should be more focussing on robotic sensors and control parts.

Great Collection!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Laredo TX Samuel Diaz
I already did all the projects in the book it great its one of the best robot books I have ever readed it tells you everything you need to now about robotics.

5-0 out of 5 stars Robot Start to Finish
First off I'd like to say that this is a great book if you want to learn how to build a robot from start to finish.I personally waited till I was done building the robotic arm to write this review.The book was easy to read, and understand, and took me through the process with ease.It lists everything you need, and even tells you where some parts can be ordered, although I wishit could of listed more specs, and suppliers.I'm not sure if I would recommend this book to the clueless begginer because there were a couple of technical erros I found, but worked through. One of the errors was in the PCB artwork which caused an LED not to light in the test program.The book also says you can build it for under $300.I think I spent about $500.That's not including the pic programmer, software, Visual Basic, and tools. Which even though most of that isn't needed, you wouldn't really be learning much if you didn't have it.If you at least have the tools,I would say that with the software, and everything else that you should have for the project, it would cost in the neighborhood of $1,300. On the plus side you'll be able to build your next project for under $300 once you have the proper materials.Nobody said it would be cheap, so make sure you're serious. I'm already designing my own project with the knowledge I gained from building the arm. ... Read more

7. Programming Microsoft® Robotics Studio
by Sara Morgan
Paperback: 304 Pages (2008-03-15)
list price: US$34.99 -- used & new: US$0.64
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0735624321
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Get the practical reference to programming robotic applications by using the Microsoft Robotics Studio. Ideal for programmers familiar with Windows® based development using Microsoft Visual Studio® and the Microsoft .NET Framework, this guide expertly illustrates how to use the Robotics Studio. You ll discover how to use the services provided in the Robotics Studio to handle navigation and remote control, speech, video, and intelligent behavior in a robotic device. It includes coverage of the included Visual Programming Language, plus code examples in Microsoft Visual C#®.

Key Book Benefits:

Delivers practical guidance about how services relate to programming robots

Provides references to simulations, navigation and remote control, speech and video, and much more

Features sample code in Visual Programming Language and Visual C# ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

2-0 out of 5 stars Not for beginners
I applaude the effort, but this book is written for people with programming and robotics experience.There is much effort in explaining what but not how.At times I felt I was reading the MS verbage.

The greatest benefit of MSRS is the Simulation feature.You can get your feet wet in Robotics for free.That should have been the focus for the book.Everything should have been reference from there.

I knew I was in trouble when the first chapter didn't make a robot move and spent most of the time on concepts.

I was hoping for step by step tour of MSRS, but I think the value in this book is after you out of the novice stage of MSRS.

2-0 out of 5 stars Buyer Beware
When I first purchased this book I thought it would be an instructional guide on how to program generic robots, but when I got it all the chapthers relate to a specific robot (iRobot, Lego NXT, etc).This made it frustrating to me because the author expects you to have this robot if you want to follow along with the guide.In my opinion, all the chapthers should be step up to run in the simulation with text on how to transfer your code to the robot if you have one.Also the authors style of writing is poor for an instructional guide.Critical steps should be bolded in the text to signify that this is a critical step.There was often times where I would get unexpected results doing the guide because a critical step was buried in a large paragraph.This book is not for somebody that doesn't have a background in C# (which I do) or at least a similar programming language.Granted teaching generic programming would be beyond the scope of this book, but if you don't have any programming background this book is not for you.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Book
Someone wants to know about Robotics Studio, this is a good book to start with.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but needs more
This book, much like Professional Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio (Wrox Programmer to Programmer), gives good examples, but only for what is explained. If you are interested in doing something like converting hardware robotics applications to simulations, then this is NOT the book for you. Also, to do the examples, you would require to have the robots, and each chapter makes use of a different robot.

If you are only interested in the hardware and not the simulation, then this book is excellent. However simulations (one of the KEY features in MSRS-MRDS) is sorely missed. Especially in conversion between hardware and simulation projects.

1-0 out of 5 stars Dissapointing
This book is not very helpful for someone trying to learn MRDS. You would be better off sticking to the tutorials on the MS website. There is very little detail about how to actually get started writing robotics software.The best I can say about it is it references other interesting projects. I wonder if this author is actually a MRDS developer because if she was she would have gone into much more detail about the nuts and bolts of MRDS. ... Read more

8. Professional Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio (Wrox Programmer to Programmer)
by Kyle Johns, Trevor Taylor
Paperback: 826 Pages (2008-05-19)
list price: US$49.99 -- used & new: US$16.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0470141077
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio (MRDS) offers an exciting new wayto program robots in the Windows environment. With key portions of the MRDS code available in source form, it is readily extensible and offers numerous opportunities for programmers and hobbyists. This comprehensive book illustrates creative ways to use the tools and libraries in MRDS so you can start building innovative new robotics applications.

The book begins with a brief overview of MRDS and then launches into MRDS concepts and takes a look at fundamental code patterns that can be used in MRDS programming. You'll work through examples—all in C#—of common tasks, including an examination of the physics features of the MRDS simulator. As the chapters progress, so does the level of difficulty and you'll gradually evolve from navigating a simple robot around a simulated course to controlling simulated and actual robotic arms, and finally, to an autonomous robot that runs with an embedded PC or PDA.  

What you will learn from this book

  • How to program in the multi-threaded environment provided by the concurrency and coordination runtime
  • Suggestions for starting and stopping services, configuring services, and packaging your services for deployment
  • Techniques for building new services from scratch and then testing them
  • How to build your own simulated environments and robots using the Visual Simulation Environment
  • What robots are supported under MRDS and how to select one for purchase

Who this book is for

This book is for programmers who are interested in becoming proficient in the rapidly growing field of robotics. All examples featured in the book are in C#, which is the preferred language for MRDS. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

2-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for the determined
When I first got the book a few months ago, I had a hard time getting into it in large part because I could not readily build the sample codes associated with the earlier chapters.All the codes, as downloaded from the book's companion website, seemed to have reference and path issues.I was also using VC# Express along with MRDS Express at the time, so I could not avail myself of some of the helpful hints given in the book.Since then, I have switched over to Visual Studio Professional along with MRDS Professional, and having now figured out how to resolve those reference issues in the sample codes (easily done), I must say I have a new found appreciation for what the authors have accomplished with this tome.They obviously know their stuff, and for me, starting with Chapter 6 which details the creation of the Corobot robot in the simulation engine, the book truly becomes invaluable.Indeed, I now find myself referring back to the earlier chapters as well with great relish.Like a fine wine, this books apparently just needs to be given a bit of time to 'breathe' in one's mind in order to reach its full potency.So I want to amend my earlier two-star rating to five stars.I would highly recommend this book to anyone who isusing MRDS.

(Note: The two-star rating as shown is based on my earlier review filed in April 2009.For some reason, Amazon only allows me to edit the text of my earlier review, but not the star rating.)

5-0 out of 5 stars If you want deep knowledge, this is the book.
This is not an intro book, but is the book you want if you want in depth knowledge.Very good book, but you'll likely use it as a reference rather than a tutorial as the topics are pretty targeted.

4-0 out of 5 stars Thorough but not easy material to get through
I have not yet completed reading this book though I have read the first few chapters.

My first impression is that although this book is fairly thorough and comprehensive, it's not the easiest material to get through.

The authors start with the CCR (Concurrency and Coordination Run-Time) and discuss it in such a way that it has nothing to do with robotics.Obviously, it makes sense as to why you would have a specialized set of components to handle concurrency, etc., but it helps to know how it fits in the big picture of robotics programming.

Anyway, I don't regret having purchased this book, but I wish it was laid out more in the context of robotics rather than just the individual components of the Microsoft Robotics Studio.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best book for the job
Of the two textbooks available, Professional MRDS is an excellent reference book for those who need guidance with MRDS. The textbook has a plethora of examples that are easy to grasp and has an excellent code library (available from the website at no cost). In addition, the hands-on attitude of the authors make MRDS a pleasurable experience.

5-0 out of 5 stars Table of Contents
This is not an actual review of the book since I am still waiting for it to arrive. I wanted to post the Table of Contents here to help out others since I did not see one from Amazon...


Part I: Robotics Developer Studio Fundamentals.

Chapter 1: Exploring Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio.

Chapter 2: Concurrency and Coordination Runtime (CCR).

Chapter 3: Decentralized Software Services (DSS).

Chapter 4: Advanced Service Concepts.

Part II: Simulations.

Chapter 5: The MRDS Visual Simulation Environment.

Chapter 6: Extending the MRDS Visual Simulation Environment.

Chapter 7: Using Orchestration Services to Build a Simulation Scenario.

Chapter 8: Simulating Articulated Entities.

Chapter 9: Adventures in Simulation.

Part III: Visual Programming Language.

Chapter 10: Microsoft Visual Programming Language Basics.

Chapter 11: Visually Programming Robots.

Chapter 12: Visual Programming Examples.

Part IV: Robotics Hardware.

Chapter 13: Using MRDS with Robotics Hardware.

Chapter 14: Remotely Controlling a Mobile Robot.

Chapter 15: Using a Robotic Arm.

Chapter 16: Autonomous Robots.

Chapter 17: Writing New Hardware Services.

Index. ... Read more

9. The Robotics Primer (Intelligent Robotics and Autonomous Agents)
by Maja J. Mataric
Paperback: 288 Pages (2007-09-30)
list price: US$32.00 -- used & new: US$26.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 026263354X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2008.

The Robotics Primer offers a broadly accessible introduction to robotics for students at pre-university and university levels, robot hobbyists, and anyone interested in this burgeoning field. The text takes the reader from the most basic concepts (including perception and movement) to the most novel and sophisticated applications and topics (humanoids, shape-shifting robots, space robotics), with an emphasis on what it takes to create autonomous intelligent robot behavior. The core concepts of robotics are carried through from fundamental definitions to more complex explanations, all presented in an engaging, conversational style that will appeal to readers of different backgrounds.

The Robotics Primer covers such topics as the definition of robotics, the history of robotics ("Where do Robots Come From?"), robot components, locomotion, manipulation, sensors, control, control architectures, representation, behavior ("Making Your Robot Behave"), navigation, group robotics, learning, and the future of robotics (and its ethical implications). To encourage further engagement, experimentation, and course and lesson design, The Robotics Primer is accompanied by a free robot programming exercise workbook.

The Robotics Primer is unique as a principled, pedagogical treatment of the topic that is accessible to a broad audience; the only prerequisites are curiosity and attention. It can be used effectively in an educational setting or more informally for self-instruction. The Robotics Primer is a springboard for readers of all backgrounds—including students taking robotics as an elective outside the major, graduate students preparing to specialize in robotics, and K-12 teachers who bring robotics into their classrooms. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars For the absolute beginner
This book would probably be OK for a middle schooler. It briefly introduces very basic concepts in an often too cloying manner. It reads more as an entertainment kind of book than a useful technical reference. If you're someone who knows nothing about electronics or robots, and wants to know if they might be interested in getting started, this might be an OK book for you. If you're looking for a solid reference that you can come back to and help you solve actual robotics problems, look elsewhere.

If the book didn't call itself a primer, I would rate it lower. Even for an introduction, it's just too light on content and too heavy on cloying analogies for my taste.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not the book I hoped it would be
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.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introduction and Survey of Robotics
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. ... Read more

10. Robotics Demystified
by Edwin Wise
Paperback: 314 Pages (2004-10-20)
list price: US$21.95 -- used & new: US$9.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0071436782
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
There's no easier, faster, or more practical way to learn the really tough subjects

McGraw-Hill's Demystified titles are the most efficient, interestingly written, brush-ups you can find. Organized as self-teaching guides, they come complete with key points, background information, questions at the end of each chapter, and even final exams.

This complete self-teaching guide takes an introductory approach to robotics, guiding readers through the essential electronics, mechanics, and programming skills necessary to build their own robot. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

1-0 out of 5 stars Poorly Organized; Little Practical Use
Thoroughly disappointed by this book, hard to believe McGraw-Hill's name is on it. What little practical information it contains is organized and prioritized poorly. The author wastes precious pages decribing atomic theory (doping, lattice, valence electrons) and obsolete mechanical control systems (cams). Then he glosses over integrated circuits in a single paragraph, saying they are to numerous to detail and how they could fill a book all by themselves.

Precisely. THAT'S the book I wanted, not this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars It lives!!
When working with the FIRST Robotics crew, one of the hardest things to do is to explain why something isn't working and the robot is "dead" rather than demonstrating how it can be fixed or just fixing it. This means explaining it in a way that makes sense to the student on the crew. Robotics DeMystified explains different issues and troubleshooting in a way that is useful and easy to absorb and run with. This gives the kids a great resource to first try to analyze and correct it themselves, which gives them a really thorough grasp of all the design and software issues involved in the build.

And of course, it lives!! See you at the regionals!!!

4-0 out of 5 stars What was the Author Thinking?
Mr. Cox writes a very good review and, while I of course enjoy the warm glow of 5-star reviews, his 3-stars make sense in his context.You might even say three stars are generous, if you wanted this book as a hands-on guide to making a full robot right now.

In his review he asks the rhetorical question "...including Cam Control and Card Control - who seriously uses this anymore?", and I have a practical answer.

Everybody!Cams can be found everywhere!

Okay, now a serious answer. I took the title seriously; I wanted to demystify robotics -- so I tried to find basic, fundamental illustrations to show the concepts involved in robotics.Cam control?To illustrate sequential control, a form of programming. Punch cards?As the camel's nose into the tent of information representation, or some such thing.

Was this the right approach or not?Only the individual reader can decide; as an author, I take a chance, I shoot my ideas out into the air, and sometimes I hit the target and sometimes I miss.

The main problem Mr. Cox seems to have with the text is the lack of complex circuits, examples, robot programming, or any actual complete robots! For these needs there are lots of excellent existing books on the shelves... in fact, any one robotic technology requires a full book to do it justice.

I didn't want to write yet another robot or electronics cookbook. Instead, I wrote this -- a book with a different goal and perspective than what I already saw on the market. A book that tries to demystify what it means to be a robot, and to provide a look at the technologies and ideas that go into the making of a robot, with a number of simple examples to illustrate them. A book not targeted so much at the experimenter or builder, but to the curious and to the person who may be getting their very first look at the topic.

As for the cover descriptions and marketing blurbs -- alas, an author doesn't have much to say about those, and they often miss the intent of the book.


3-0 out of 5 stars doesn't actually show you how to build a robot
The folks at McGraw Hill graciously sent me a copy of Edwin Wise's new book, Robotics Demystified, for me to review. Unfortunately, I got it right around the time that I left for Hong Kong (study abroad) and I'm just now getting around to actually reviewing it.

The title calls it a "self-teaching guide" and the back cover reads; "Now anyone with an interest in robotics can gain a deeper understanding - without formal training, unlimited time, or genius IQ." So, I cracked open the book to find out if this is true or not.

Demystified is a relatively short 295 pages and contains 18 chapters. Example chapter names include, "Simple Machines", "Starting with Electronics", and "Intelligent Behavior." It is clear from the beginning that Wise is targeting this book to the complete novice. He says in the Preface, "There is no one 'robot technology,' so this book breaks the study of robots down into technology categories: the mechanics and framework of the robot, the electronics that make up its brain and nerves, and the control systems and programming that gives the robot life." Each chapter concludes with quiz questions to test your knowledge of each chapter.

The book starts off at a pretty low level (mechanical forces) and slowly (very slowly) builds on the knowledge. The forces chapter, and the following, "Simple Machines" discuss basic mechanical systems. All the mechanical systems described in the book deal only with LEGO pieces, so the reader never actually sees any other type of building materials. The mechanical systems are also presented as individual units and aren't ever assembled into a comprehensive "overall" system (aka, an actual robot).

After an introduction to mechanical systems (which is where Wise really shines) the book turns towards electronics and spends an entire chapter discussing the building blocks of electronics (electrons, electric fields, magnetic fields, etc.) in what seems a bit too low level for most robot hobbyist's needs. Another disappointment was the chapter on circuits, which was sadly lacking in basic tools for analyzing circuits and their behavior (it only contained a brief description of Ohm's law).

Another chapter dealt entirely with sequencing and programming, including Cam Control and Card Control - who seriously uses this anymore? The discussion on binary systems was also brief. The chapter on control systems didn't even mention block diagrams and discussed closed-loop feedback systems without any good examples in robotics (a good one would be a motor driver).

Another chapter was devoted to semiconductors, with discussion of BJT's and FET's, but this was sadly disconnected from real-world applications and circuits. Which, is the biggest problem I have with this book - there isn't any real world applications in robotics. The book lacked any discussion of sensors or microcontrollers, and only mentioned programming in a high-level way. There were no pictures of actual robots anywhere in the book.

I would say this book is definitely not for true beginners. It will only leave them more frustrated and confused. It builds a very nice foundation, but stops there, leaving the beginner to find yet another resource to link all the pieces together. Robotics Demystified only succeeds in clouding the really difficult part - putting everything together into a working robot.

If you're an "advanced beginner" this book might be for you, to enhance your knowledge, but if you're completely clueless, stay away.

4-0 out of 5 stars an introductory text
A breezy little book that gives a general explanation of how to make your own robots. Very much a hobbyist's flavour, with a hands on approach emphasised. Wise tries to take a lot of the mystique out of the subject. He downplays any complexity in the design. This may ultimately limit what you can get out of the book. But if you have never had any prior exposure to robotics, it is stillnot a bad choice for a first text. ... Read more

11. Robotics: Modelling, Planning and Control (Advanced Textbooks in Control and Signal Processing)
by Bruno Siciliano, Lorenzo Sciavicco, Luigi Villani, Giuseppe Oriolo
Hardcover: 632 Pages (2008-12-25)
list price: US$129.00 -- used & new: US$97.76
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1846286417
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Based on the successful Modelling and Control of Robot Manipulators by Sciavicco and Siciliano (Springer, 2000), Robotics provides the basic know-how on the foundations of robotics: modelling, planning and control. It has been expanded to include coverage of mobile robots, visual control and motion planning. A variety of problems is raised throughout, and the proper tools to find engineering-oriented solutions are introduced and explained.

The text includes coverage of fundamental topics like kinematics, and trajectory planning and related technological aspects including actuators and sensors.

To impart practical skill, examples and case studies are carefully worked out and interwoven through the text, with frequent resort to simulation. In addition, end-of-chapter exercises are proposed, and the book is accompanied by an electronic solutions manual containing the MATLAB® code for computer problems; this is available free of charge to those adopting this volume as a textbook for courses.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars it's a great resource
This book has everything a new grad student or aspiring roboticist would want.It covers the mechanics, the controls and even some vision for robotic manipulators.Very nice resource. ... Read more

12. Robot Programming : A Practical Guide to Behavior-Based Robotics
by Joe Jones, Daniel Roth
Paperback: 288 Pages (2003-12-12)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$16.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0071427783
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

* Teaches the concepts of behavior-based programming through text, programming examples, and a unique online simulator robot

* Explains how to design new behaviors by manipulating old ones and adjusting programming

* Does not assume reader familiarity with robotics or programming languages

* Includes a section on designing your own behavior-based system from scratch (20040601) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

2-0 out of 5 stars Good info, but outdated
The info was very easy to understand and was pretty much up to date. The only problem was that the websites where CORRUPT! If your ok with that; this is the book for you!

2-0 out of 5 stars Extremely disapointing
I am very surprised at the other reviews of this book. I purchased it based on them and was extremely disappointed.
I was looking for something to help me design and architect software for my robotic project. This book is advertised to accomplish that, but after reading through it, I am left short of my goals.The information may be in the book, but it is presented in a boring put you to sleep fashion that is difficult to read or organize your thought process from. Most of the book pushes a robot simulation web site, that no longer exists at the specified address, which speaks to the lack of popularity. The website has been moved to another domain name, but you will find that it has not been updated in several years, again, a seemingly total lack of interest.
It's a shame, like I said, it seems like relevant information may be buried inside, waiting for someone to re-present it in a useful format.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Useful Robot Programming Book
Most of the robot books I've purchased rarely explained the detail of how you could create some kind of "intelligent" program and expand it as you need. This book give you an example using pseudo code so basically you could implement it in any programming language usually found in embedded programming such as C, Basic/Stamp or Assembler. I would highly recommend this book for robotics enthusiast who wants to make their robot behave like it has some kind of intelligent.

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading for Mobile Robot Builders
I have read dozens of robotics books over the years and most of them suck. They were either too academic or too basic. This book is excellent and was a refreshing change.

Written by one of the designers of iRobots Roomba, this book is indeed a practical guide to robotics. It is easy to read and full of practical advice that one would only get if they spent the last 20 something years working with robots. For example, the author repeatedly warns you to expect the unexpected.

Even though this book incudes access to a simulator tool, the author constantly reminds you of what could occur in the real world. This book is for anyone attempting to build a single-purpose mobile robot (whether as a commercial developer or a hobbyist). Rather than focusing on a specific language or platform, the author uses pseudocode to explain concepts. The pseudocode should save you hours of frustration. At the very least, the authors good sense of humor makes reading the book quite enjoyable.

4-0 out of 5 stars where has the website gone?Oh there it is again.
This is a nice little book. It introduces some important concepts in an overall very readable text. Of course the book doesn't offer much technical detail or any real code but sometimes it comes close. If you already have any experience in programming you can easily get the point in the example pseudo codes and adapt them for your own use.
There is a major problem about this book though. The online robot simulation program was available from the link given inside the book but this website is not active anymore so you can not practice the ideas using the "bsim" program.
I have to make a revision about the Bsim applet and the website. The website is up and running but the URL is not [...] anymore. It may be found at [...]. (02.Jan.2010) ... Read more

13. Robotic Micro-Assembly
by Michaël Gauthier, Stéphane Regnier
Hardcover: 306 Pages (2010-10-19)
list price: US$110.00 -- used & new: US$88.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0470484179
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Discover the latest models and methods for robotic microassembly from around the world

This book presents and analyzes new and emerging models and methods developed around the world for robotic microassembly, a new and innovative way to produce better microsystems. By exploring everything from the physics of micromanipulation to microassembly to microhandling, it provides the first complete overview and review of this rapidly growing field. Robotic Microassembly is divided into three parts:

  • Part One: Modeling of the Microworld

  • Part Two: Handling Strategies

  • Part Three: Robotic and Microassembly

Together, these three parts feature eight chapters contributed by eight different authors. The authors, internationally recognized experts in the field of robotic microassembly, represent research laboratories in Asia, Europe, and North America. As a result, readers get a remarkable perspective on different approaches to robotic microassembly from around the world. Examples provided throughout the chapters help readers better understand how these different approaches work in practice. References at the end of each chapter lead to the primary literature for further investigation of individual topics.

Robotic microassembly offers a new, improved way to manufacture high-performance microelectro-mechanical systems (MEMS). Therefore, any professional or student involved in microrobotics, micromechatronics, self-assembly or MEMS will find plenty of novel ideas and methods in this book that set the stage for new approaches to design and build the next generation of MEMS and microproducts. ... Read more

14. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Robotic Air Warfare 1917-2007 (New Vanguard)
by Steven Zaloga
Paperback: 48 Pages (2008-10-21)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$6.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1846032431
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are the most dynamic field of aerospace technology, and potentially the harbingers of new aviation technology and tactics. They have only emerged from the shadows in recent years, but in fact have been in use for decades. After some limited use in World War II, UAVs began to emerge as a substitute for manned reconnaissance aircraft in the 1950s for missions deemed too dangerous to risk an aircrew. Used in significant numbers in the Vietnam War as well as less-heralded missions such as spy flights over China in the 1950s and 1960s, the contemporary UAV began to emerge in the 1980s.

This book examines the development of this unique and mysterious technology, revealing how it has changed combat through the years and speculating on its potential to transform the nature of warfare in the future. Steven J Zaloga examines the pioneering use of UAVs conducted by the Israeli air and the use of UAVs during Operation Desert Storm. Packed with rare, recently declassified photographs and detailed full-color cutaways, this title goes on to investigate the wide deployment of UAVs over Iraq and Afghanistan today, and considers the possible future of the UAV as an actual military weapon. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointiing
I had just read a Zaloga book on tanks. I was to read two more Zaloga tank books in the next few weeks. He's a very good writer and a real expert - on tanks.

Alas, this subject doesn't benefit from his sagacity and judgment. This is just a list of models. You can get more and more recent information from Wikipedia.

5-0 out of 5 stars Splendid Photographs and Illustrations of UAVs
This is a beautifully illustrated book on a subject that has received a lot of media coverage lately. It is written in the style of a guide to museum exhibits but it is the pictures that tell the story, so don't expect too many technical details.

There are illustrations and photographs on every page, most of them in color. Sometimes they do not follow the sequence of the text, for example the illustration of Boeing's X-45 appears in the `Early Days' section opposite a photograph of the WW1 vintage Kettering Bug. However, with only 48 pages one can read the book from cover to cover and then go back and enjoy the pictures a second time. The author has done a splendid job compiling this history of robotic aerial vehicles, but it is a pity he restricted himself to military versions. Perhaps there will be an enlarged second edition?

5-0 out of 5 stars Offers a detailed survey of the design, development and history of warfare machinery through the ages
Steven J. Zaloga's UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES: ROBOTIC AIR WARFARE 1917-2007 offers a detailed survey of the design, development and history of warfare machinery through the ages. From the early development of the technology to how it's changed combat over the years, UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES is an excellent addition to military libraries, as is other series titles from Osprey. An excellent military library pick.

2-0 out of 5 stars Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
From an Osprey Publishing series that hits so many home runs it's suprising to see such a weak effort as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Robotic Air Warfare 1917-2007.The title of the book gives a hint to it's falure, 90 years of history covered in what turns out to be less than two dozen pages of actual text (I'm not counting the captions as text as many of them just repeat information in the text of the book). The scope of the book is just to large to be covered properly in such a small booklet.As an example, the ground-breaking Aphrodite Program gets "covered" in one sentence that also mentions two other projects.

On the plus side the book is well illustrated in the Osprey tradition and it makes a fine pictue book (The two stars are for the illustrations). The pictures don't save the skimpy text however and this is perhaps the only book from this fine publisher that I am sorry I purchased.

4-0 out of 5 stars A First-rate Introduction
Osprey's New Vanguard No. 144, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Robotic Air Warfare 1917-2007, provides a quick look at the various attempts to develop remote-control aircraft. Normally these type of survey titles have to cover far too much ground to be more than a superficial introduction to a subject, but as introductions go, this is a fine one. Although the emphasis is upon American UAV developments since the Vietnam War, the author does spend some time discussing Soviet, NATO and Israeli developments.

The volume begins with an introduction that takes a brief look at the dawn of robotic warfare when the British tried to develop an unmanned "aerial torpedo" toward the end of the First World War but the technology was too immature. Zaloga notes that the early development of unmanned systems with closely intertwined with the quest to field fire-and-forget cruise-type missiles. In the Second World War, the technology had advanced to the point that the United States actually built and used radio-guided assault drones in the Pacific. The author then moves into a section on "Cold War Spies" that describes the first tactical reconnaissance UAV, the American SD-1, which became available in the 1950s. However, the American use of UAVs finally became a realistic capability during the Vietnam War based upon a whole new series of air frames that were based on aerial target drones. The author also discusses the US Navy's DASH anti-submarine drone and spends several pages on Soviet UAVs in the 1960s/1970s. There are also short sections on Israeli and European UAVs.

About halfway through the volume, the author reaches the modern era when he begins to discuss UAV use during Desert Storm in 1991 and Operations OIF/OEF in the 21st Century. Sub-sections discuss the development of long-range endurance UAVs as well as the emergence of unmanned combat vehicles (UCAVs). Although the author offers some conclusions on the future of UAVs, he avoids becoming unduly speculative. Overall, this is a very good survey for only 48 pages and it is both attractive and well-written. It does have a few weaknesses that may render it less useful for some readers. Aside from the Global Hawk, there is little performance data (e.g. range, ceiling, speed) presented for most of the UAVs. This survey is almost exclusively focused on air-frame and ground-control developments, leaving room for almost no discussion of sensor collection capabilities (which is really the heart of what most UAVs do). This is particularly important in regard to the development of all-weather sensors (SAR) or long-range sensors (LADAR, LOROP), over the traditional daylight-only, overhead optical systems. Finally, the author did provide some specific examples of actual UAV use in combat, but these were rather superficial. Nevertheless, the author does succeed in packing a considerable amount of information into a very small package and most readers will probably wish there had been an extra 20-30 pages.

Graphically, the volume is very attractive. It has seven color plates by Ian Palmer: the TDR-1 Assault Drone (1944); the D-21B Tagboard (1970); the Soviet DRB-1 Yastreb (1973); the Firebee Drone in combat (1969-2003); the RQ-1 Predator (2004); the RQ-2 Pioneer (2003) and a two-page cutaway of the RQ-4 Global Hawk. The volume also has a large number of very good photos, most of which are in color. The author provides a short, but adequate bibliography that points the way toward more in-depth sources available.
... Read more

15. Springer Handbook of Robotics
Hardcover: 1611 Pages (2008-06-27)
list price: US$199.00 -- used & new: US$136.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 354023957X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Robotics is undergoing a major transformation in scope and dimension. Starting from a predominantly industrial focus, robotics has been rapidly expanding into the challenges of unstructured environments. The "Springer Handbook of Robotics" incorporates these new developments and therefore basically differs from other handbooks of robotics focusing on industrial applications. It presents a widespread and well-structured coverage from the foundations of robotics, through the consolidated methodologies and technologies, up to the new emerging application areas of robotics. The handbook is an ideal resource for robotics experts but also for people new to this expanding field such as engineers, medical doctors, computer scientists, designers; edited by two internationally renowned experts.

Bruno Siciliano is Professor of Control and Robotics at the University of Naples Federico II in Italy, President of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, and a Fellow of both IEEE and ASME.

Oussama Khatib is Professor at the prestigious Stanford University in the USA, President of the International Foundation of Robotics Research, and a recipient of the Japan Robot Association Award in Research and Development.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars massive and comprehensive
Siciliano and Khatib have assembled a massive and comprehensive tome on robotics, circa 2008. Sections of the book can be read by a diverse audience of undergraduate and graduate students, researchers and even the general public. Spanning any field associated with the subject.

There is considerable maths in the modelling of robots. Often to understand and control an arm. The multiple degrees of freedom of joints are wonderful for dexterity. But these often give an excursion into advanced linear algebra and control systems theory. Several chapters go into the necessary maths. You probably need at least 2 years of undergraduate engineering maths as preparation.

The myriad applications in which robots have been deployed is amply surveyed in Part F, Field and Service Robotics. In the household, there is of course the floor cleaning Roomba. A cute little gizmo, but it is not a toy; a genuine robot in its own right. The chapter mentioning it also describes an entire genre of competitors; mostly lesser known to the public.

Another chapter on agriculture and forestry talks about using robots for tasks like harvesting. Usually more successful when the terrain is flat and well defined; ie. having only one crop present. While the general case of a robot in hilly, wooded terrain with multiple obstacles and different species of trees is much harder to program.

I also ran into something in this chapter from my past, and it impressed me as to the book's comprehensiveness. At the University of Western Australia, there was a long running program to devise a robot sheep shearer. It started in the 70s and I met several of its researchers. I lost track of it after 1983, but I'd wondered whatever became of it. The book takes up the thread, explaining that the program took on the name Shear Magic, and was ultimately discontinued because it was never fast enough. But even in failure, this robotic application had a side effect. The demonstration of the technology was used by farmers to browbeat human shearers into moderating their wage claims, by playing off longstanding fears of workers about being replaced by machines. Of course, whether or not this was desirable may be a function of your political leanings.

To me, the most interesting section of the entire book concerned mirror neurons. This was a fundamental recent discovery in biology. The relevance to robotics is still perhaps speculative. Several robotics researchers have attempted to use it as inspiration for teaching a robot via its visual input and processing system. This contrasts greatly with the traditional teaching use of rule based formal logic, often involving the predicate calculus. The results described in the text are early but promising.

One slight curiosity is the relative deprecating of military applications. These are numerous and scattered throughout various chapters. Covering uses like landmine detectors, or the aerial Predator and its relatives that have seen much recent use in Iraq and Afghanistan for surveillance and attack. But at the top level of the Contents, there is no section on the military. And if you go to the Index, "military" is absent, while, for example, "mind reading" gets 2 entries. The downplaying of the military is especially puzzling given the historically prominent role of the US military in funding advanced robotics research. ... Read more

16. Theory of Applied Robotics: Kinematics, Dynamics, and Control (2nd Edition)
by Reza N. Jazar
Hardcover: 883 Pages (2010-06-21)
list price: US$99.00 -- used & new: US$74.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1441917497
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Theory of Applied Robotics: Kinematics, Dynamics, and Control 2E is appropriate for courses in robotics that emphasize kinematics, dynamics, and control.

The contents of this book are presented at a theoretical-practical level. It explains robotics concepts in detail, concentrating on their practical use. Related theorems and formal proofs are provided, as are real-life applications. Students, researchers, and practicing engineers alike will appreciate this user-friendly presentation of a wealth of robotics topics, most notably orientation, velocity, and forward kinematics.

The second edition includes updated and expanded exercise sets and problems, new coverage includes, Components and Mechanisms of a Robotic Systems with actuators, sensors and controllers and updated and expanded material on Kinematics including geometric kinematics, Derivative Kinematics, velocity kinematics, and new coverage on sensing and control including position sensors, speed sensors and acceleration sensors.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Thorough
This book does a very good job of showing every step involved with many examples. It tends to show numerical examples and is a little light on theory, but this is an applied robotics book so no fault there. It makes a good text to have in conjunction with other robotics books.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good purchase
I'm enjoying too much this book, I haven't readed it completely but I'm really satisfied with this purchase. I encourage you to buy this book.

I've bought this book because I'm a robotics enthusiast and until now I've found answers to almost any question I had about.

Really a good job.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Textbook on the Subject
I recently ordered this book for my Robotics class, and it is by far the most comprehensive text I have read on the subject. The topics are clearly defined and equations are effectively derived and arranged.

5-0 out of 5 stars Writers of Computer Graphics Textbooks, please note.
I wanted a book that covered Inverse Kinematics for animation in computer graphics. What I found was a book that not only went further than my needs, but turned out to be the most comprehensive coverage of IK and associated topics that I have yet come across.

All of the material covered needs some preliminary study before reading this book, probably from several sources. However, if anyone should want a full treatment of Rotation,Orientation,Motion and Forward Kinematics, to bring it all together, then this is the book for it. The author gives the clearest diagrams and explanations of the Denavit-Hartenberg Notation I have yet seen. If the previous papers on this topic are anything to go by, this has not been an easy task.

Chapter 2. Rotation Kinematics. Excellent examples of Rotation and Successive Rotation about Global Cartesian Axes; Global Roll-Pitch-Yaw Angles; Successive Rotation about Local Cartesian Axes; Euler Angles.
Chapter 3, on Orientation Kinematics gives advanced treatment of this area.

Chapter 4, again the best single treatment I have seen on Rigid Body Motion, Inverse and Compound Homogeneous Transformations. Screw Coordinates are included for advanced study.

Chapter 5, on Forward Kinematics, gives numerous examples on applications of the Denavit-Hartenberg Notation to Transformations. Again, the best I have seen yet, with respect to the diagrams and accompanying examples.

Chapter 6, on Inverse Kinematics, is well explained.

The remaining chapters, from Angular Velocity to Numerical Methods, Acceleration, Robot and Motion Dynamics appear to be in the same vein, although I have only scanned the contents.

Of course, the reader will come across the odd typo. However, I would like to congratulate the author on writing what must be the leading textbook in this field.

... Read more

17. Linux Robotics: Programming Smarter Robots (TAB Electronics Technician Library)
by D. Newman
Paperback: 287 Pages (2005-12-16)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$18.69
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 007144484X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Robotics is becoming an increasingly popular field for hobbyists and professionals alike.The cost of the mechanics and electronics required to build a robot are low enough that almost anybody can afford it.The hardware that used to require government funding or a large university is now available to the average person.At the same time, programming is becoming a more common skill.This book combines the most sophisticated parts of robotics and programming to fill a real gap in available information.Most robotics books today use microcontrollers as the “brains” of the robots.This approach is fine for smaller, less expensive projects, but has serious limitations.When attempting to build a robot with sophisticated movements, navigation abilities, vision, and picture-capturing abilities, it is better to use a single board computer (SBC) such as Linux as the controller. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

3-0 out of 5 stars Open Robotics...
Robotics is an area that is still poorly defined, but this book helps to start getting us there.
The mechanics are a comparatively easy hack compared to the logic and getting it to be useful.

As a project book it is doable and useful, even if not building this exact robot the author does,
but it does allow a framework.

Since this area doesn't stand still, you can also look at [...] where you
might run into the author of this book too!

This is a good TAB style project book.Easy enough to read and written by a builder, not an academic.

1-0 out of 5 stars Nothing to do about Linux
1/3 or more of this book was commented Java source code. The other 1/3 was a really bad version of The Catcher in the Rye writing style about what someone wishes to do with his robots one day. There was little to no technical content about robots or programming for that matter. I was very disappointed with this book. Had I browsed through it at the bookstore I would have never spent a dime on it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good beginner's book
There's not a lot of detailed technical information but the book does a good job of listing a range of ideas and sources for building Linux robots. As an expert-level Linux Administrator, a decent C and Python programmer who is familiar with Java and as a budding roboticist, I found the book very useful.

1-0 out of 5 stars Sadly the cover art is the best part!
It is fare to say Mr. Newman is very competent programming and using Linux. The one star rating has more to do with content and publishing rather than a knock on Mr. Newman. It was obvious he was under time constraints and that this was his first book. He spends more time talking about features that are not working yet or that he wants to implement, than the process to build the robot in his book. The majority of the book is short descriptions without depth. The title and the table of contents are very unreflective of the text contained in the book. The book has 155 pages of "content" and 120 pages of Appendix. The code in the 119 pages of Appendix A while well written could have been included on a CD and much more detail added to the book. It reads, looks and is a rush job. It is clear Mr. Newman has skills and a firm grasp of Robotics and Linux. It is also very clear that this TAB book is a bust. I returned the book. If you are looking for an in-depth Linux and Robotics book then you are much better off with Open-Source Robotics and Process Control Cookbook: Designing and Building Robust, Dependable Real-time Systems
By Lewin Edwards. I bought this at the same time I bought Mr. Newman's book. I also own Lewin Edwards first book.
Embedded System Design on a Shoestring
I consider both of Lewin Edwards works mentioned above as must have books.

5-0 out of 5 stars How a robot should be built.
I have this book and it has more than enough information to build a very capable robot that makes most of those that you can buy a toy.
Using free (as in free beer) software from the internet you can make a robot that can be anything that you want with just a little thought. The information is supplied in sections starting from some basic knowedge you can create a robot a piece at a time. The information covers movement - internal networking between indivual control modules to internet networking of the robot, to having the robot figure out where in the world or house it is and how does it get to where it needs to be.All the source code for the software is in the book and available from the authors site.It is a great starting place for a very potent robot. ... Read more

18. Distributed Control of Robotic Networks: A Mathematical Approach to Motion Coordination Algorithms (Princeton Series in Applied Mathematics)
by Francesco Bullo, Jorge Cortes, Sonia Martinez
Hardcover: 336 Pages (2009-07-06)
list price: US$49.50 -- used & new: US$46.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691141959
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This self-contained introduction to the distributed control of robotic networks offers a distinctive blend of computer science and control theory. The book presents a broad set of tools for understanding coordination algorithms, determining their correctness, and assessing their complexity; and it analyzes various cooperative strategies for tasks such as consensus, rendezvous, connectivity maintenance, deployment, and boundary estimation. The unifying theme is a formal model for robotic networks that explicitly incorporates their communication, sensing, control, and processing capabilities--a model that in turn leads to a common formal language to describe and analyze coordination algorithms.

Written for first- and second-year graduate students in control and robotics, the book will also be useful to researchers in control theory, robotics, distributed algorithms, and automata theory. The book provides explanations of the basic concepts and main results, as well as numerous examples and exercises.

Self-contained exposition of graph-theoretic concepts, distributed algorithms, and complexity measures for processor networks with fixed interconnection topology and for robotic networks with position-dependent interconnection topology Detailed treatment of averaging and consensus algorithms interpreted as linear iterations on synchronous networks Introduction of geometric notions such as partitions, proximity graphs, and multicenter functions Detailed treatment of motion coordination algorithms for deployment, rendezvous, connectivity maintenance, and boundary estimation ... Read more

19. Robotic Explorations: A Hands-On Introduction to Engineering
by Fred G. Martin
Paperback: 462 Pages (2000-12-17)
list price: US$115.00 -- used & new: US$49.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0130895687
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This hands-on, introductory book is based on widely available, custom robotics materials (Handy Board, Interactive C, LEGO Technic). Covers sensors; motors, gears, and mechanism; control; handy board design; construction techniques; DC Motor; and more. Ideal as an introduction to electrical engineering or capstone design. Also appropriate for readers interested in electrical technology robotics.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars A very nice introduction
I purchased this book as a 'recommended' book for a class almost nine years ago and it's still interesting.

5-0 out of 5 stars engineering manual
After 12 years of running an engineering club, I finally found a helpful book. I work with students from 6th to 12th grades. My 8th and 9th graders have no problem following this book. As a matter of fact I can't keep it on my desk. It is frequently either checked out or on the floor with the "builder". Yes, it is a freshman college book but my kids seem to have no problems reading it. My students participate in BEST, FIRST and Botball.

5-0 out of 5 stars Taking the next step
This book presents an introduction to various aspects of robot building and planning.It is written as an undergraduate textbook, and contains numerous exercises throughout the text.The book assumes that students and other readers will have access to Handyboards and LEGO Technic equipment, as well as a desktop PC and hobbyist-level soldering equipment.The book walks the reader through analyzing a Handyboard, how to use it, how to build custom sensors and motors, and how to write programs in assembly language.All of this information would be very useful to first-year engineering students as it would help them put theory from many of their other classes into practice.Nevertheless, most of the tasks and programs described in the book could actually be built with a standard LEGO RCX brick.On the other hand, a person who masters the material in this book would be able to take advantage of the extra sensors and motors that the Handyboard supports and build far more sophisticated robots than would be possible with LEGO Mindstorms equipment.Anyone who builds robots using LEGO equipment, whether with a Handyboard or an RCX, will find information in this book about Braitenberg vehicles, LEGO design, control theory, and robotics contests quite useful.The introduction to Assembly language in Appendix A is also presented in an easily accessible style.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thinking about learning how to build a robot?
I found this to be an excellent introduction to how to build a fully functional, autonomous robot.This book covers everything you need to build robots using LEGO Technics (think LEGO blocks plus gears, motors, etc.) and a Handyboard, a robot brain developed to get the hard digital electronics out of the way so you can concentrate on putting together a good design with motors and sensors and software intelligence.

As someone looking for how to break into robotics without first getting bachelors in Electrical Engineering or Mechanical Engineering, this book was for me.I got the basics of the two topics covered and was able to dive right into the interesting "what can I do with my robot" scenarios.

This book also goes into some detail on inexpensive sensor components out in the electronics market and how to use them in robots.I found this to be a great source of ideas and instructions even when not creating robots using the Handyboard brain.

For those looking to dabble, be aware that this is a book best used in conjunction with real, live robot parts. (...)

4-0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to robotics
The basic content of this book is excellent. It provides a readily accessible introduction to the principles of engineering. This book could easily be used as the text for a first year course in a unified engineering curriculum including Computer Science. The one flaw with this book is that it appears tohave been rushed out by the publisher. Many of the page references are to the wrong pages and some of the pictures are rather blurry. Finally, the instructions for creating and downloading ICB files to incorporate assembly language modules for interrupt side programming and similar purposes needs to be reworked in a future edition. I hope that a future edition will also have a chapter on electrical design and construction techniques to compliment the chapter on mechanical techniques. I also look forward to a third chapter on sensing and possibly a second chapter on control theory. Regardless, this is overall an excellent book and should be acquired by anyone interested in small robots. ... Read more

20. Computational Principles of Mobile Robotics
by Gregory Dudek, Michael Jenkin
Hardcover: 408 Pages (2010-07-30)
list price: US$99.00 -- used & new: US$91.06
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521871573
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Mobile robotics is a multidisciplinary field involving both computer science and engineering. Addressing the design of automated systems, it lies at the intersection of artificial intelligence, computational vision, and robotics. This textbook for advanced undergraduates and graduate students emphasizes algorithms for a range of strategies for locomotion, sensing, and reasoning. It concentrates on wheeled and legged mobile robots but discusses a variety of other propulsion systems. The new edition includes advances in robotics and intelligent machines over the last ten years, including significant coverage of SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) and multi-robot systems. It includes additional mathematical background and an extensive list of sample problems. Various mathematical techniques that were assumed in the first edition are now briefly introduced in appendices at the end of the text to make the book more self-contained.Researchers as well as students in the field of mobile robotics will appreciate this comprehensive treatment of state-of-the-art methods and key technologies. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good general overview of computational robotics
This is one of only two books that I know of that are dedicated to computational issues in robotics, the other one being "Introduction to Autonomous Mobile Robots". Both of these books are good and excel in certain areas. I think that this book's best chapters are the two on sensors and their algorithms. Both chapters have plenty of details and even some worked numerical examples. The first two chapters on locomotion and robot hardware are pretty good and do have some equations for deriving robot kinematics, but I think that the previously mentioned "Introduction to Autonomous Mobile Robots" does a slightly better job at presenting that material. Chapters 5 and 6 on "Representing and Reasoning About Space" and the "Operating Environment" are about AI and its uses in the mobile robot. They are an OK introduction, but to really understand this material it would be better to get a copy of "Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach", and read the relevant chapters in that book. The next two chapters on "Pose Maintenance" and "Maps and Related Tasks" are very good chapters. They go into some specifics on AI and robot design that I couldn't find in other books, and have quite a bit on the mathematics and algorithms involved. They go into particular detail on the Kalman Filter, but you will still need a more detailed source of information on that subject. I suggest "Poor Man's Explanation of Kalman Filtering: Or How I Stopped Worrying & Learned to Love Matrix Inversion", which is very inexpensive. If you can't find it on Amazon, you can try buying it directly from the publisher, Taygeta Scientific. The last two chapters are just essay-style material on the current and future uses of mobile robots.
To get the most out of this book you should already be familiar with statics, dynamics, image processing, computer vision, and the basics of AI. No book on robotics can take you from ground zero, teach you all of these subjects AND computational robotics too. The good books on robotics, of which this is one, show how all of the related disciplines are integrated into the design of a robot.

5-0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive robotics text
The book is an excellent comprehensive survey of the mobile robotics, especially for a reader interested developing new mobile robot hardware and software. The authors discuss most of the major research issues in mobile robotics in depth, including locomotion and control, sensing and state estimation, and planning algorithms. Additionally, many of the most successful techniques are covered in enough depth to act as a how-to for implementors. For example, a popular state estimation technique is the Kalman filter, which can be readily implemented directly from the description of the algorithm in the text.

This book distinguishes itself in that it focuses on the algorithms, and general lessons learned in designing robots, both hardware and software. Many robotics books get involved in the details of hardware and become obsolete at a rapid pace. This book should be very useful for the university classroom for quite some time.

1-0 out of 5 stars Too general
This book is too general. It's like a 'review' of techniques used, methods in robotics etc. Furthermore, you need other books to be able to help you to understand what it's talking about.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beginner Robotics Reference Book
This is a great robotics book for beginners, spanning through all relevant subjects (navigation, steering, sensors, environment, planning, etc.) with sufficient depth to satisfy and, hopefully, appeal to anyone new to this field.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent mobile robotics textbook
This book provides a solid and fairly comprehensive coverage of mobile robotics including both basic mobile platforms, sensor systems, computational vision, method for reasoning and planning, mapping, and a few practical examples. The approach adopted is based on a solid theoretical foundation. Thus the reader needs at least first year calculus and statistics to really appreciate this book.

The coverage is comprehensive in the sense that it provides a good introduction to all the topics needed in order to develop a ombile robot system. In addition to this the text has a fairly comprehensive bibliography with adequate pointers to relevant literature. The book has a slight bias towards computational vision, which is not surprising given the history of the authors, but overall the coverage is well balanced.

This book is close to perfect for a one year university course on the introduction to "mobile robotics". Anyone entering mobile robotics to do research in this field ought to read this book. ... Read more

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