May 29, 1985
The robotic age has arrived. Robots have moved off the pages of science-fiction stories and into the real world. Right now, robots are hard at work in factories, laboratories, schools, and homes, performing tasks that range from welding car bodies to serving cocktails. There are robots that can see, robots that can talk, robots that can hear, and robots that can walk. Artificial intelligence researchers are on the brink of inventing robots that will think, too.
Asimov and Frenkel introduce readers to Joseph Engelberger, the founder of Unimation; George Devol, the grandfather of industrial robots; and the many other people who create robots. We see exactly how the Puma robot works, look behind the scenes of the robotics industry (including the totally automated Fanuc FMS), and get a glimpse of the future of robots in the work place, in the home, and in the world.
Robots: Machines in Man’s Image is an in-depth up-to-the-minute exploration of robots past, present, and future. Robots have come a long way – from mythical nonhuman beings, like the golem, through automatons and clockwork figures to Rossum’s Universal Robots. The development of computers and their miniaturization eventually turned robots from myth to reality. Today, hundreds of companies, like Unimation, Fanuc, Kuka, and Cincinnati Milacron, are revolutionizing factories with their robots, workcells, and flexible manufacturing systems.
Scientists are developing stereoscopic vision systems, locomotion systems, sensing hands, and even artificial intelligence systems that will greatly increase robots’ capabilities.
Robots, the inevitable marriage of machines and computers, are the future, and Robots: Machines in Man’s Image is the most complete survey of robotics available today. With an authoritative text and state-of-the-art photographs, Robots is a must-read for anyone interested in what the world will be like tomorrow.
Isaac Asimov was born in the Soviet Union in 1920 and arrived in the United States in 1923. He became interested in science fiction at the age of nine and sold his first magazine story when he was eighteen. His first novel, Pebble in the Sky, was published in 1950, and since then he has published 320 books, both fiction and nonfiction. Asimov invented the Three Laws of Robotics in 1942 (coining the word robotics in the process), and wrote I. Robot, the most important work of robotics science fiction, in 1950. He is married and lives in New York City.
Karen A. Frenkel is a science writer whose articles have appeared in Forbes, Technology Review, and Medical World News. She is features writer for Communications of the ACM, the magazine of the Association for Computing Machinery. Ms. Frenkel lives in New York City.