April 9, 2014

Robotic history

Mighty Robots: Mechanical Marvels that Fascinate and Frighten
by David Jones

People have been fascinated with robots for years, as evidenced by the number of movies and television shows that feature these helpful or malevolent creations. Automatons have been built as early as the 1600s, when the Japanese built moving dolls that served tea. 

There is a wealth of detail in Mighty Robots, which takes readers through the history of robotic development from the earliest inventions to the possibilities for the future. Chapters describe the evolution of many different types of robots that help us plumb the depths of outer space and vast oceans, defuse bombs, perform surgery, vacuum floors, or play soccer.

Sidebars provide more stories about robotic innovations and summaries of robot-themed movies. These sidebars are printed on a glossy, grey background that makes the text hard to read, especially if you're sitting beside a window. As well, the layout of chapter three, Robot Explorers, is poor, with the photos and text placed too far apart. But these are minor problems. Mighty Robots is a well-researched book that should enthrall technically-minded kids.

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