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The Resource SAM : one robot, a dozen engineers, and the race to revolutionize the way we build, Jonathan Waldman

SAM : one robot, a dozen engineers, and the race to revolutionize the way we build, Jonathan Waldman

Label
SAM : one robot, a dozen engineers, and the race to revolutionize the way we build
Title
SAM
Title remainder
one robot, a dozen engineers, and the race to revolutionize the way we build
Statement of responsibility
Jonathan Waldman
Creator
Author
Subject
Language
eng
Writing style
Review
  • Journalist Waldman (Rust: The Longest War) delivers a lively look at the team behind SAM, a “semi-automated mason” bricklaying machine designed to “revolutionize construction.” Engineer Scott Peters and construction project manager Nate Podkaminer founded “Construction Robotics” in 2007 and, supported by a team of engineers, debuted SAM in 2013. Waldman has an eye for details that sum up character—of two mismatched company employees, he observes one, a conservative Republican, “listened to classic rock and didn’t recycle”; the other, a liberal Democrat, “listened to podcasts and did”—and for dramatic end-of-chapter cliffhangers. He also provides enough background on the construction business, “the second biggest industry in America,” yet one famously resistant to change, to help explain why SAM met stubborn resistance from the construction crews it was intended to help. Despite the sometimes dizzying proliferation of technical acronyms—for example, SAM’s predecessors, ERMaS (Experimental Robotic Masonry System) and MAMA (Mechatronically Assisted Mason’s Aide)—Waldman’s storytelling remains engaging as he follows the team from building sites across the U.S. to the “World of Concrete” trade show in Las Vegas, then to an enticing but elusive opportunity in Dubai. This gripping story of a “scrappy little start-up” proves its author to be an industrious reporter and natural storyteller. (Jan.)
			 --Staff (Reviewed 09/16/2019) (Publishers Weekly, vol 266, issue 37, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ Waldman's (Rust) latest, short for Semi Automated Mason, presents a compelling, well-paced, and engaging account of the innovations developed by the startup Construction Robotics. The narrative hinges on the motivations for developing an automated way to lay bricks and bring Silicon Valley-like "disruption" and "revolution" to the way builders work. Readers will come to appreciate how challenging the application of automation to construction is; construction sites are chaotic and do not lend themselves well to automation of the type that the group behind Construction Robotics is attempting. Each chapter does double duty introducing a problem facing the team while also personalizing the challenge faced by an individual engineer, architect, businessperson, or union member, to name a few. Through these in-depth vignettes of individuals and their motivations, readers learn about the automation technologies that the team will cobble together to bring their semiautomated mason to life. VERDICT Fans of applied iterative trial and error, common to all innovation work, will appreciate this latest piece of popular science and technology. --Jim Hahn (Reviewed 11/01/2019) (Library Journal, vol 144, issue 10, p103)
  • Gripping tale of a robot arm and an unexpected application to which it was put to work. Laying down courses of bricks is difficult work, requiring masons to lift tons of materials daily. From this observation came a light-bulb moment: A New York architect named Nate Podkaminer pondered whether it would be possible to automate the process by using a robot. Employing members of his family, he set out on the quest to construct what, in one iteration, was "an oversize contraption—capable of laying forty-pound cinder blocks as well as four-pound bricks—powered by an undersize motor, resting on undersize rails." With tinkering, writes Waldman (Rust: The Longest War, 2015), Podkaminer and company were able to cook up SAM, for "semi-automated mason," semi- because while the machine, built up from a Swiss-made robotic arm, was able to lift and set down bricks, it required human masons to point and clean up the mortar bonding them. (The Swiss firm "thought a bricklaying robot was crazy.") No one involved was a bricklayer as such but instead process engineers and the like. The real bricklayers, as one might expect, were suspicious and a little hostile at first; one said, "if a robot told me where to lay bricks, I think I'd shove it off the scaffold!" Though assured that humans were in charge and that jobs for masons would grow, since lowering the cost of laying bricks would mean more brick buildings would go up in the place of steel and glass, the firm continued to meet resistance—but kept on plugging all the same, to quietly triumphant ends. As one learns a great deal about geology from John McPhee and computers from Tracy Kidder, Waldman offers a lively, accessible overview of the bricklayer's art, which is much more complex than one might think. Apart from engendering an appreciation for the uses of technology, the author also adds to the literature surrounding the dignity of artful labor. Human meets machine, and both prevail in an engaging story of technology and discovery. (Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2019)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10835603
Cataloging source
NjBwBT
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Waldman, Jonathan
Dewey number
629.8/92
Illustrations
illustrations
Index
no index present
LC call number
TJ211.15
LC item number
.W35 2020
Literary form
non fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Robots
  • Construction industry
  • Bricklaying
http://bibfra.me/vocab/lite/titleRemainder
one robot, a dozen engineers, and the race to revolutionize the way we build
Label
SAM : one robot, a dozen engineers, and the race to revolutionize the way we build, Jonathan Waldman
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
on1134392802
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First Avid Reader Press hardcover edition.
Extent
ix, 267 pages
Isbn
9781501140594
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
(OCoLC)1134392802
Label
SAM : one robot, a dozen engineers, and the race to revolutionize the way we build, Jonathan Waldman
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
on1134392802
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First Avid Reader Press hardcover edition.
Extent
ix, 267 pages
Isbn
9781501140594
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
(OCoLC)1134392802

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