Karen A. Frenkel

Science and Technology Writer


"This book was entertaining, yet educational at the same time. Once I read the first chapter I didn't want to put it down."
--Jesse Cain, December 2003

"State-of-the-art reportage on the current use of robots in materials handling, assembly, etc. The book provides a useful global picture, along with thoughtful analysis."
--Kirkus Reviews, June 1985

Fan Mail:

"I have been de-signing and building robots since the 60s (as a child) and now design and build advanced anima-tronics and bionics here in Tallahasse. I do research on my own, build what I like, or what I can afford! And my cur-rent project directly leads to you. The book you co-author-ed with Asimov (I tend to think you did most of the actual writing!) features a picture near the back of a magazine from the '50s of a very sexy robot female being servic-ed by a technichian (p. 225). I was very inspired by that picture. Now I have just about complet-ed the genuine version. That pic-ture, which I xeroxed back in the 80s, has hung on my workshop wall all these years, and one day I decided to build it. Don't get me wrong--not for the sexy female part--but for the visionary concept it repre-sented. The sexy body was just a bonus. I have built hundreds of robotic projects--finishing this one was very special to me. When complete (summer 2006), I will be most pleased. And I just wanted you to know that.

Thank you,

Mark Miller
A robot builder whose life you changed.
April 2006

Robots: Machines In Man's Image


• The Origin of Robots: Myth and Reality

• The Creators and Pioneers: Joseph Engelberger

• The New Industrial Revolution: The Applications and Uses of Industrial Robots

• Inside the Robot: How it Works

• The New Breed: Personal, Promotional, and Hobby Robots

• The World View: Jobs, the Economy, and Robots

• Making Robots Smart: Research and Development

• Creating the Future: Robots and Society

Excerpt from Chapter Two: The Creators and Pioneers of Industrial Robots

For Joseph F. Engelberger, thirty years of building robots and founding a new industry have been both fun and a “big battle.” Now known as the Father of Industrial Robotics, he speaks of “playing in the robotics business” in one breath, and of surmounting “institutional barriers” in another.

An independent, analytical thinker who knew how to find and use information, he again and again eschewed the advice of other “experts.” And once others caught on, he found himself in a competitive arena where secrets could not be safeguarded enough. Yet he managed to make an innovation succeed.

Engelberger is just as comfortable describing economic and marketing models as he is with servo theory, the technology that piqued his interest when he was an engineering student. Clad in a suit and bow tie, an accessory that the fifty-nine-year-old Engelberger says saves time, he leans forward to draw an imaginary graph on a tabletop. His index finger zig-zags wildly across the polished wood surface, charting the course the robotics industry has taken. This engineer-turned-businessman also uses terms like “open or closed valves” and “positive or negative feedback” to convey how financial backers received his ideas.

Today the company he founded has close to eight thousand robots installed around the world and is the world’s largest manufacturer of industrial robots…

Selected Works

Bloomberg.com, Bloomberg Businessweek, Businessweek.com
A company tackles the wasteful data center industry with a new business model.
The fashion industry goes tech in order to step up efficiency when it comes to ordering threads.
Hudl's software lets coaches edit athletes' plays and use them for training. But the company must psych out coaches from different cultures to learn how they train to win.
New-fangled milk crates designed for college students, with the incite of the crowd and made in the U.S.A.
Blue Microphones has expanded its reach, making mics for iPhones, iPods, and iPADs and any other USB device.
The University of Illinois engineering professor creates self-healing materials, and has successfully applied the idea to electronic circuits
Automating recruiting with anonymous job references
A textile company aims for sustainability.
Saving power for supercomputers, laptops, and now data centers.
A new smartphone app that suggests routes to drivers, saving them time and fuel.
"Our fundamental advance allows us to deliver devices that can provide cooling for refrigeration or waste heat recovery and efficiently convert it into power," says Phononic Devices Chief Executive Officer Anthony Atti.
Pressed for time, doctors are less and less amenable to face-to-face meetings with pharma reps. Viscira's biomedical computer animation reach tech-savvy MDs.
Tech from Plextronics Could Replace Lightbulbs, ’Do Away With iPads’
Essence Magazine
Influential Black women in tech and an entrepreneurial mother-daughter pair.
Creative Non-Fiction
An unusual gift, an unusual heritage
Memories, triggered by Hurricane Sandy, of storms of the past.
A true short story from and to Manhattan's Upper West Side.
Is the Web a Threat to Creativity and Cultural values? One Cyber Pioneer Thinks So.
Troubled teens benefit from role-play in virtual worlds with their therapists.
Special imaging technology shows the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy.
Posthumous emails, videos, and animations.
KNO goes up against TOMS, asking to buy more, give more.
Kids use the kit, called Hummingbird, to build whatever they imagine.
Engineer and entrepreneur Karen Purcell highlights some of strategies for women in STEM in her book, Unlock Your Brilliance.
Email reminders help people keep track of their spending.
At-risk students thrive with a new style of learning.
An Interview with Encyclopaedia Britannica President Jorge Cauz.
The Murray/Jackson trial showcases iPhone forensics, experts comment on the state of the art.
Researchers find privacy breeches possible.
A 1989 interview with the late, titanic visionary while he was CEO of NeXT,Inc., in which he discusses the Mach OS, robotic manufacturing, mentoring employees, digital Shakespeare and Webster's...
U. S. News and World Report and InsideScience.org
Robotic camera technology inspires virtual exploration by students around the world.
Science Magazine and Science NOW
Scientists shoot gigapixel panoramas to make discoveries
The First Conference on Computational Sustainability
Scientific American MIND
Scientists debate how synapses work
Scientific American
A New Algorithim Could Soon Vanquish Go Pros
The Village Voice
Three neurological studies reveal that traumatic memories of those near the site and bereaved children affect functioning of parts of their brains.
The New York Times
The making of the first fully computer-generated cartoon feature film.
Why online shoppers abandon their shopping carts.
Book Reviews
Two books look for answers in the lives of a few who succeeded.
Other Magazines
Technology Review
Communications of the ACM