Skip navigation
Paperback | $36.00 Short | £24.95 | ISBN: 9780262633543 | 328 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 88 figs, 1tbl illus.| August 2007

"“University Presses in Space” showcases a special sampling of the many works that university presses have published about space and space exploration."

Essential Info

  • Table of Contents
  • Supplemental Material Website
  • Free Robot Programming Workbook
  • K-12 STEM Education Materials


The Robotics Primer offers a broadly accessible introduction to robotics for students at pre-university and university levels, robot hobbyists, and anyone interested in this burgeoning field. The text takes the reader from the most basic concepts (including perception and movement) to the most novel and sophisticated applications and topics (humanoids, shape-shifting robots, space robotics), with an emphasis on what it takes to create autonomous intelligent robot behavior. The core concepts of robotics are carried through from fundamental definitions to more complex explanations, all presented in an engaging, conversational style that will appeal to readers of different backgrounds.

The Robotics Primer covers such topics as the definition of robotics, the history of robotics ("Where do Robots Come From?"), robot components, locomotion, manipulation, sensors, control, control architectures, representation, behavior ("Making Your Robot Behave"), navigation, group robotics, learning, and the future of robotics (and its ethical implications). To encourage further engagement, experimentation, and course and lesson design, The Robotics Primer is accompanied by a free robot programming exercise workbook.

The Robotics Primer is unique as a principled, pedagogical treatment of the topic that is accessible to a broad audience; the only prerequisites are curiosity and attention. It can be used effectively in an educational setting or more informally for self-instruction. The Robotics Primer is a springboard for readers of all backgrounds—including students taking robotics as an elective outside the major, graduate students preparing to specialize in robotics, and K-12 teachers who bring robotics into their classrooms.

Downloadable instructor resources available for this title: file of figures in the book

About the Author

Maja J. Mataric is Professor of Computer Science and Neuroscience and Director of the Center for Robotics and Embedded Systems at the University of Southern California, where she is also Codirector of the Robotics Research Lab and Senior Associate Dean for research in the Viterbi School of Engineering.


"As with electronics and then computers, the world is about to betransformed yet again by the age of robotics. Every age needs itstechnology to be adopted by smart kids and dedicated hobbyists to providethe tide of people who will carry out the transformation. The RoboticsPrimer is a bridge between academia and everyperson, and its readers willbecome the crucibles of the new age."
Rodney Brooks, Director, MIT Computer Science and Artificial IntelligenceLab

"Dr. Mataric has made a complex subject accessible to students of all ages.Students can learn in conjunction with hands-on experience using the robotworkbook available online. This primer and workbook will give the student afirst glimpse at the incredible possibilities of robotics."
Helen Greiner, Chairman and Co-founder of iRobot

"This book is a very enthusiastic introduction to robotics. It is anexcellent textbook for anyone designing or taking an undergraduateintroductory course, and great reading for those interested in learningabout robots."
Daniela Rus, Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, MIT

"The Robotics Primer is a rare combination—lively and enthusiastic as wellas authoritative, written by one of the leaders of the field. If thisdoesn't excite a new generation of roboticists, I'm not sure what will! Aremarkable contribution: a fun, straightforward, and gentle introduction torobotics, that is accessible to virtually anyone interested in gaining suchknowledge. I know of no better text to bootstrap aspiring roboticists intothe language, knowledge, and culture of the field."
Ronald C. Arkin, Regents' Professor & Director of the Mobile RobotLaboratory, Georgia Institute of Technology


Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2008.