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Science Books

June 22, 2006

Robot Builder's Bonanza, Third Edition
Gordon McComb, Myke Predko (2006)
ISBN: 0071468935

Good news everyone! The Robot Builder's Bonanza has got everything you need to get started on your obedient robot henchman (or hench-woman), as well as some helpful tips, tricks and robot tidbits you may need along the way. Writer Gordon McComb, Lasers, Ray Guns, and Light Cannons, teams up with engineer Myke Predko, a test engineer at Celestica in Toronto, to share their collective years of robotics training, experience, failures and successes. Robot hobbyists and evil geniuses everywhere have already benefited from McComb's first two editions, but, with the added expertise of Predko, this dynamic team believe they have produced a robot builders guide capable of producing an awesome bot. The Robot Builder's Bonanza will show you how to build a robot from scratch, either by using one of the 30 projects supplied (each one fully customizable), or by creating one of your own designs. After you've decided on your design, you can set about building a robot that has the potential to talk, listen, walk, see and even feel. The team will take you through some robot basics, such as the types of materials that you should use, how to source them, together with some budgeting advice (titanium exoskeletons can be prohibitively expensive). The guide caters for all levels of robot enthusiasts, and the practical robotic projects are a great way for novices to learn the finer points of robotics. After some chapters on sensors, navigation and how to program your robot, the authors offer some robot wisdom in a section on how to avoid common mistakes. There are also tips on robotics competitions, and some pointers on "mind-controllers" and remote control, in order to avoid... err... an incident (such as killer robots rampaging through the streets). The Robot Builder's Guide is entertaining, informative and jam-packed full of illustrations to help make building your automaton a lot easier. Batteries not included.

How Everything Works: Making Physics Out of the Ordinary
Louis A. Bloomfield (2006)
ISBN: 047174817X

When a CD plays, your car starts, you get an MRI image from your doctor or the sky turns red at sunset, do you put it all down to some mysterious juju energy? How Everything Works allows you to step out of the physics wilderness and sound exceedingly knowledgeable about the physics of everyday items and natural phenomena. From gadgets such as iPods and microwaves, to the physics of baseball or nuclear weapons, Louis A. Bloomfield, Professor of Physics at the University of Virginia, delivers scintillating scientific explanations exposing the workings behind the devices and events that we would normally take for granted. How often do we pause and consider our ability to control the temperature of living environments simply by flicking a switch, and the scientific know-how that has gone into making this technology possible? And when you're conveniently running off some photocopies or using a microwave, how often do you ask, "How does it work"? Probably never, but you might be surprised at the complex technologies that have gone into making their use as simple as pushing a button. Far from pulling the magic carpet out from under the wonder of technology and natural phenomena, Bloomfield's scientific explanations actually reveal the true beauty and magic at work in everything around us. Bloomfield has spent many years honing his ability to explain the physics of everyday life, and his use of enthralling examples makes How Everything Works a lively and riveting read for all inquisitive minds.

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