The Robot Zoo – Book comes to life.

by Darla on March 15, 2008

in Science

Carnegie Mellon University sponsored a small version of the exhibit the Robot Zoo to come to Doha, Qatar.  There aren’t too many opportunities to do this sort of thing so it is good to support them when they come.  I hope that positive feedback will encourage them to sponsor more.  Maybe a Robotics demonstration the next time.

This is a slide show of the displays they had available for us.  There were quite a few hands on activities. In one you can see Samuel trying to climb the wall like flies do.  Each activity was uniquely fitted to that animal.   It was really neat.  What fascinated me the most is how much you would need to know about the anatomy of the animal to reproduce robotic ones in this much detail.

Slightly reminiscent of David Macaulay’s The Way Things Work, this striking book wows readers with its unique take on the animal kingdom. Each page features a small inset of one of 16 creatures, along with an abundance of related facts. But the real focus is on the animal’s robot twin-and here Kelly and his cohorts pull out all the stops. Tongues firmly in cheek, they draw cutaway views to show each creature’s “innards,” and explain, from an engineering angle, the function of each part. The rhino robot, for example, has “solid casing to protect the computer (very thick skull protecting the brain),” and “dual food processors (stomachs).” The chameleon sports “protective sleeves for visual receptors (eyelids)” and “flat video screens” that “show camouflage patterns (skin cells called chromatophores lying beneath skin scales).” Brimming with detail, meticulously illustrated and enhanced by several gatefolds, this oversized volume will have young readers (and their adult counterparts) glued to the pages as they gain a real appreciation for the marvels of nature’s engineering.

This book is particularly suited for ages 4-8 but I think anyone interested in Robotics would enjoy the pictures and detail.

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