Daniel H. Wilson was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, the eldest of two children. Wilson's father owns Howard's Auto Top & Body Shop and his mother is a nurse.
Wilson attended Booker T. Washington High School, graduating in 1996. He earned his B.S. in Computer Science at the University of Tulsa in 2000, spending one semester studying philosophy abroad in Melbourne, Australia at the University of Melbourne. He completed an M.S. in Robotics, another M.S. in Machine Learning, and his Ph.D. in Robotics in 2005 at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His thesis work, entitled Assistive Intelligent Environments for Automatic Health Monitoring focused on providing automatic location and activity monitoring in the home via low-cost sensors such as motion detectors and contact switches. He has worked as a research intern at Microsoft Research, the Xerox PARC, Northrop Grumman, and Intel Research Seattle.
Wilson's first book was published during his final year of graduate school in late 2005. How to Survive A Robot Uprising won a Rave Award from Wired and was optioned by Paramount Pictures. A screenplay was written by Tom Lennon and Ben Garant, and produced by Mike DeLuca. Mike Myers was attached to star, however, the option eventually expired.
In 2006, Wilson began as a columnist for Popular Mechanics Magazine and is now a contributing editor, called the "Resident Roboticist."
In 2007, Wilson published Where's My Jetpack?. The book was a GQ Media Pick for 2007 and Simon Reynolds of Salon.com said: "The research is top-notch and fascinating... the best material entails a sort of archeology of stillborn or prematurely abandoned futures."
In 2008, Wilson followed up How to Survive a Robot Uprising with a sequel called How to Build a Robot Army. The book was optioned by Paramount Pictures and chosen by the American Library Association (ALA) as a 2009 Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. The New York Post called the book required reading.
Also in 2008, Wilson co-authored a humorous book with psychologist Anna C. Long, entitled Muwahahaha! (Citadel, 2008). In a blurb, Mike Myers, the actor of Dr. Evil fame, called it "An exhaustive study of the evil mind. A great book!".
In 2008, Wilson made a two book deal with Bloomsbury Publishing Children's division. The first book, published in April, 2010 is called The Martial Art of Sibling Smackdown. In August 2007 (well before publication), Bro-Jitsu was optioned by Nickelodeon Movies (a subset of Paramount Pictures) and Wilson hired to write the screenplay.
The second book, called A Boy and His Bot, is a young adult novel due to be published in January 2011.
Wilson hosted a series on the History Channel entitled The Works, which debuted on July 10, 2008. Ten episodes of The Works aired, in which Wilson explained the hidden workings of everyday items, including Sneakers, Guns, Beer, Garbage, Robots, Parachutes, Power Tools, Steel, Motorcycles, and Tattoos. He has also appeared as himself in Modern Marvels and Countdown to Doomsday.