Making Robots Think
W. W. Norton
On Sale: March 19, 2007
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A remarkable, intense portrait of the robotic subculture and
the challenging quest for robot autonomy.
The high bay at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon
University is alive and hyper night and day with the likes
of Hyperion, which traversed the Antarctic, and Zoe, the
world's first robot scientist, now back home. Robot Segways
learn to play soccer, while other robots go on treasure
hunts or are destined for hospitals and museums. Dozens of
cavorting mechanical creatures, along with tangles of wire,
tools, and computer innards are scattered haphazardly. All
of these zipping and zooming gizmos are controlled by
disheveled young men sitting on the floor, folding chairs,
or tool cases, or huddled over laptops squinting into
displays with manic intensity. Award-winning author Lee
Gutkind immersed himself in this frenzied subculture,
following these young roboticists and their bold conceptual
machines from Pittsburgh to NASA and to the most barren and
arid desert on earth. He makes intelligible their
discoveries and stumbling points in this lively
behind-the-scenes work. 15 illustrations.
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