April 11, 2014

Build your own robot

How to Build a Robot (With Your Dad): 20 Easy-to-Build Robotic Projects
by Aubrey Smith

This is an easy-to-follow instruction book that will allow kids and parents (moms, too) to create their own robots. Just don't expect these robots to move, unless you're making the robot suit, the lunar rover, or the rocket launcher. More interesting projects include the growing robot (made out of plant pots), the bedside robot (using a bedroom side table), and a lamp robot. Each project can be made using common household tools and easily-found materials. The only other drawbacks to the book are the ALL-CAPS font and the lack of proper lists of materials, which are often buried in the all-caps paragraphs.

Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage: A Mystery with Hoverbots, Bristle Bots, and Other Robots You Can Build Yourself
by "Science Bob" Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith

The robots in this book do move, but first you need to head to your local hardware store for motors, batteries, and wire. The instructions are included throughout the fictional story of twins Nick and Tesla and their search for a stolen comic book. Nick and Tesla create several different robots to help in their investigations. The plot is very slight, with few solid clues, odd for a mystery. The book's back cover blurb is rather misleading; there's no rash of robberies (only two!) and the army of robots only show up near the end, when the villain is confronted. It's the villain who explains his dastardly plan, which only goes to show that Nick and Tesla aren't very good detectives.

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