Review: I have multiple degrees in engineering and, like most nerds, I think robots are awesome. Unfortunately, building a robot is not something I ever learned to do in my engineering career. However, it’s something I definitely want to do with my kids when they’re older. It’s also something I’m fairly confident I can figure out. This book sounded really promising because a) it’s meant for kids, and PhD or not, I prefer books that are easy to understand and b) there are 20 projects included. It seemed perfect. However, it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. I was hoping that it would tell me how to build a simple, yet ACTUAL, robot. If you know absolutely nothing about robotics and want a very gentle introduction to the history of robotics and to terms you might need to know, this book would be helpful. However, if you actually want to build a robot, this book alone is not going to get you there. To me it reads more like a middle school text book on an introduction to robotics (though even for that purpose I think it would be better if they used actual images of robots instead of just cartoon drawings).
Overall, the book was just somewhat disappointing. To be fair, the author didn’t actually say there were 20 robot-building projects, but while the projects are generally related to robots, they definitely don’t teach you how to build anything that one would actually call a real robot. However, on the other hand, they are the sort of projects that someone who was like 12 could do on their own (i.e. making robot “skin”, hypothetical computer programs done on paper, un-powered components that might be interesting in a robot, hooking up a simple dc motor, etc.) or that parents with absolutely no background knowledge in science or engineering could do with their kids. I will use some of the projects in this book as an introduction to robotics for my kids. However, I will need to search out other sources of information if I want my kids to learn how to build and program robots with controllers that are able to perform simple tasks. (Personal Rating: 7/10)