Most helpful positive review
Excellent Idea Book - especially for educators
on January 13, 2000
Braitenberg uses simple elecro-mechanical vehicles to demonstrate how very simple rules and designs can create surprisingly complex behavior.
I used the vehicles to teach simple electronics concepts in a college level 'Electronics 101' course. The students were not only fascinated by the vehicles themselves, but could directly experience the effects of electronic components (resistors, capacitors, inductors, etc.)
But the true value of the book comes from the delightful writing and stimulating ideas. After reading it through the first time, I knew it would entrance and motivate students.
There is no need to construct any of the vehicles Braitenberg describes (in fact, I'm sure the author didn't intend that), but if you're a tinkerer, you probably won't be able to resist!
I must respectfully disagree with the first reviewer's comments and rating. Granted, the book is neither a hard science book, nor is it an engineering cookbook. You won't learn any formulas or electronic theory, nor will you learn a new theory of intelligence. Instead, you'll find a wonderful romp through fun ideas drawn from complexity theory, artificial intelligence, perception, and philosophy. You may even see hidden (but not too deeply) a sneaky critique of behavioralism.
I recommend this book highly to students and educators, tinkers and engineers. It's a good book. Definitely worth a read!