John M. Jordan

John M. Jordan is Clinical Professor of Supply Chain and Information Systems in Smeal College of Business at Penn State University. He is the author of Robots, also in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series.

  • 3D Printing

    John M. Jordan

    An accessible introduction to 3D printing that outlines the additive manufacturing process, industrial and household markets, and emerging uses.

    The use of 3D printing—digitally controlled additive manufacturing—is growing rapidly. Consumer models of 3D printers allow people to fabricate small plastic objects, from cabinet knobs to wedding cake toppers. Industrial uses are becoming widespread, as businesses use the technology to fabricate prototypes, spare parts, custom-fitted prosthetics, and other plastic or metal items, often at lower cost and with greater efficiency than standard manufacturing. In this volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, John Jordan offers an accessible introduction to 3D printing, describing the printing process, industrial and household markets, and emerging uses.

    Jordan outlines the stages of 3D printing, from idea to software model to a printable file that slices the planned object into printable layers to the finished object itself. He describes additive technologies, consumer 3D printing in homes and schools, mass customization (which can create tens of millions of unique items), and industrial uses. Jordan explains that although 3D printers have not become the ubiquitous home appliance once predicted, they are making inroads into mass markets; and he discusses the business factors that may hinder industry adoption of 3D printing technologies. He considers the possible unintended consequences of 3D printing on jobs, as companies scramble to find employees with an uncommon skill set; on business models and supply chains, as manufacturing is decentralized; and on patent law, as machines can be programmed to copy protected property. Finally, Jordan looks at new and emerging uses, including bioprinting, building construction, and micromachines.

    • Paperback $15.95
  • Robots

    Robots

    John M. Jordan

    An accessible and engaging account of robots, covering the current state of the field, the fantasies of popular culture, and implications for life and work.

    Robots are entering the mainstream. Technologies have advanced to the point of mass commercialization—Roomba, for example—and adoption by governments—most notably, their use of drones. Meanwhile, these devices are being received by a public whose main sources of information about robots are the fantasies of popular culture. We know a lot about C-3PO and Robocop but not much about Atlas, Motoman, Kiva, or Beam—real-life robots that are reinventing warfare, the industrial workplace, and collaboration. In this book, technology analyst John Jordan offers an accessible and engaging introduction to robots and robotics, covering state-of-the-art applications, economic implications, and cultural context.

    Jordan chronicles the prehistory of robots and the treatment of robots in science fiction, movies, and television—from the outsized influence of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein to Isaac Asimov's I, Robot (in which Asimov coined the term “robotics”). He offers a guided tour of robotics today, describing the components of robots, the complicating factors that make robotics so challenging, and such applications as driverless cars, unmanned warfare, and robots on the assembly line.

    Roboticists draw on such technical fields as power management, materials science, and artificial intelligence. Jordan points out, however, that robotics design decisions also embody such nontechnical elements as value judgments, professional aspirations, and ethical assumptions, and raise questions that involve law, belief, economics, education, public safety, and human identity. Robots will be neither our slaves nor our overlords; instead, they are rapidly becoming our close companions, working in partnership with us—whether in a factory, on a highway, or as a prosthetic device. Given these profound changes to human work and life, Jordan argues that robotics is too important to be left solely to roboticists.

    • Paperback $15.95