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New book defines a multidisciplinary body of knowledge for robotics

Encompassing art, culture, psychology, history and more, Foundations of Robotics: A Multidisciplinary Approach with Python and ROS takes a globally unique cross-discipline perspective to reflect the growth and reach of robotics – and the open access, free-to-download text will make such knowledge accessible to all.

“Robots are no longer ‘caged’, or in the background of our lives – from self-driving cars to robot cleaners, they’re part of our everyday and they impact us all,” said the University of Canberra’s Associate Professor Damith Herath, who co-edited the book with David St-Onge of École de technologie supérieure (ETS) Montreal.

Foundations of Robotics originated from Dr Herath’s extensive work with artists and other multi-disciplinary experts.

“I was constantly asked to recommend a book that could provide them with a foundational overview of robotics – but while there were great books on very specific areas, there just wasn’t one across disciplines,” he said.

Foundations of Robotics reflects how the field has transcended engineering – even hardcore engineers appreciate that there are soft edges to robotics that we need to be aware of.”

In his foreword for the new book, globally-renowned roboticist Ken Goldberg proclaimed that it “… provides the ‘foundation’ for understanding how robots work. It is the accessible introduction that artists and engineers have been waiting for.”

Chapters are written by experts from various fields – artists, psychologists, industrial designers and roboticists alike – and contextualise the very human face of robotics, both in industry and application.

Launched at Questacon today, the book is free to download thanks to a grant from Kinova Robotics.

“When people first became literate in the 1800s, knowledge – and therefore, power – spread beyond the elites. Today, power is held by the technocrats, so a book like this further democratises knowledge.”

Foundations of Robotics: A Multidisciplinary Approach with Python and ROS can be accessed here.