Robot Evolution: The Development of Anthrobotics
Since the creation of the first modern robots in the 1950s, robotics has developed rapidly and in diverse directions; the term robot (from the Czech word for drudgery) now applies to a spectrum of creations, from mechanical limbs bolted to factory floors to computer-driven bipeds with human-like capabilities. But the urge to create "mechanical men" to perform mundane, repetitive, and even complex human tasks is nearly as old as civilization itself. The ancient Greeks built automata, as did the Egyptians and the Japanese. Leonardo da Vinci designed mechanical men, and entertainment robots were all the rage in eighteenth-century Europe. Robot Evolution is unique in robotics literature, at once a comprehensive pictorial history of robots and a technical guide to robot designs, devices, and systems. Author and robot expert Mark E. Rosheim reviews and describes the gamut of robot mechanisms, from ancient to state-of-the-art, from subcomponents such as joints, grippers, and actuators to completely integrated systems equipped with artificial intelligence, sensors, and autonomous mobility. Rosheim chronicles the development and increasing complexity of these systems, using the kinesiology of human body parts as a framework for evaluating the kinematics of robotic components and explaining how these components are used to emulate human motion. Particular emphasis is placed on the most advanced current devices and promising experimental designs. Supplemented with hundreds of photographs, drawings, and illustrated tables, Robot Evolution is written in a clear, forthright style and organized to provide quick and easy access to information. Separate chapters are devoted to robot arms, wrists, hands, and legs, and each chapter contains examples of several different design approaches to the same problem or component. The advantages and disadvantages of each design are discussed in detail along with preferred applications and specific functions of each device. An annotated bibliography assists those interested in further reading, and a comprehensive glossary is also provided. This indispensable quick reference will be of great help to machine design and robotics engineers, controls engineers, researchers in biomechanics, and kinesiologists who need concise and detailed answers to problems in robot design and function. For the technically minded layman, Robot Evolution offers both a fascinating tour of the robotic universe and an uncommonly accessible introduction to the design, function, and operation of robots and their components.
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