CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 27. . . .March 20, 2015
Part of the “Crabtree Chrome” series of hi/lo books, Robotics attempts to introduce reluctant readers to the wonderful world of advance machine technology. Four of the seven chapters featured explore the everyday applications of robotics in the fields of industry, space, the military, and medicine; two concluding chapters (“Humanoid Robots” and “Extreme Robots”) are devoted to highlighting the specialized functions of robots as human like companions and as essential research tools in exploring the hostile and remote landscapes of the planet. An opening chapter examines the earliest incarnations of robots throughout history, beginning with da Vinci’s Automaton and ending somewhere in the second half of the twentieth century with the Ultimate, the first robot utilized for industrial manufacturing. Nowhere within this introduction are the terms “robotics” or “robot” defined.
While the chapters follow a natural progression, the text more so resembles a patchwork of facts rather than a cohesive narrative. Much of this is due to the extensive use of sidebars which often only repeat information previously discussed in the main narrative. The text is otherwise straightforward and easy to comprehend; potentially troublesome words are expressed as bold face type and are defined at the bottom of each two page spread (and again as part of the book’s glossary). Large colour photographs add visual interest in support of the text throughout, although, with many of the images used, there exists no sense of scale.
Some expanded content relating to artificial intelligence (and an examination of the potential concerns and consequences) would have created a more robust survey of modern robotics, and perhaps, one would hope, may have provided greater clarity in identifying the distinction between machines and autonomous robots. Nevertheless, as an introductory resource designed to engage and educate young readers, Robotics is an apt title for use in both school and public libraries. However, for maximum comprehension (given the inherent complexity of the topic and the book’s target audience), assistance in the form of guided reading would be most advantageous; the resources (books and weblinks) listed at the back of the book will assist in this process.
Andrew Laudicina is a MLIS graduate from the University of Western Ontario in London; he currently resides in Windsor, ON.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.