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Paperback Creative Projects with Lego Mindstorms Book

ISBN: 0201708957

ISBN13: 9780201708950

Creative Projects with Lego Mindstorms

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Good

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Book Overview

With its emphasis on building technical skills and having fun, LEGO Mindstorms has become a popular toy for technological tinkerers. This book-CD package helps you build a variety of exciting robots,... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Projects that require the solution of complex problems

In the fall semester of 2003, I taught a special topics course in robotics at Mount Mercy College with two students. A Lego Mindstorms kit was purchased and in the first segment of the class, the students built a robot and programmed it to move around the halls. We then moved on and used a more advanced robot in the remainder of the class, because I did not consider the Lego kit to be sophisticated enough. From some of my professional communications, I learned that entire college classes are being taught using only Lego Mindstorms kits. After reading this book and evaluating the projects, I am now completely convinced that Mindstorms kits are all you need to teach a robotics class. Some of the projects in the book are a giraffe that simulates feeding, a flashlight follower, a robot painter, robots that communicate with each other, a machine that makes bubbles in response to stimulation, an infrared fax machine and even a submarine. To get these projects to work, it is necessary to solve some of the standard problems in Artificial Intelligence (AI). For example, the giraffe and all other animals require that the standard problem of getting a robot to walk be solved. The flashlight follower requires that the robot be able to dynamically process sensor input, using it to make decisions. Standard problems in machine-to-machine communication must be solved when the actions of a robot are in response to what another has told it. The robots can be programmed using visual basic, robolab or NQC (Not Quite C). Robolab is a visual development environment where many of the actions are coded by connecting icons. The visual basic and NQC languages have many differences from their true counterparts, basically, they are stripped down versions with altered syntax. Legos are one of the most mind-expanding toys that children can use. Applying some of the concepts in this book, they can be used as learning tools for some of the most complicated tasks that we can try to do, making a machine do intelligent tasks.

Great stuff

This book is a great introduction to the world of LEGO Mindstorms robots. I've been working with the LEGO Mindstorms kits for about 6 months, and I've often been frustrated by the lack of detail in the manuals for the kits. This book provides quite a bit of the missing information. For instance, it explains that you lose your firmware if you take your batteries out of your RCX for more than a minute or two (I wish that I'd seen that in a manual somewhere!). It provides a broad overview of alternatives to programming in RCX code, together with examples from each alternative mentioned for comparison. These coding examples are discussed in the text and they are also included on the accompanying CD. In addition to the coding examples, the CD also includes videos and stills of the robots described in the book. The book includes descriptions of a broad range of robots, from the very simple Acrobot robot featured in the Constructopedia, to robots designed by school kids, to robots designed by parent-kid teams, to advanced robots using IR communication and data logging. In each case, Erwin provides the details of the development process, how the robot was first conceived, how it was developed, and how the design problems were identified and solved. This approach makes the book much more than a simple code cookbook- -it explains to parents, teachers, and older kids how robots actually come about. Scattered throughout the book are "Asides" that explain various topics such as LEGO geometry, how to calculate gear ratios, understanding compound gear trains, programming decisions, etc. The book includes appendices of useful information, a bibliography, an excellent glossary, and an index.

Great for FIRST LEGO League Teams!

Last year I coached a FIRST LEGO League team of 4th and 5th graders we took 2nd place in California State, as well as the Rookie All Star award. I used a large variety of materials pulled from various sources, but I was really frustrated by the lack of a book that would be directly accessible to kids as well as adults. I discussed my frustrations on LUGNET and was *thrilled* to find out that Ben Erwin was in the final stages of just such a book. I used a pre-press version of the book with my team in the late stages of the competition and they all loved it and wished they'd had access to it earlier. When it finally got through the publication process, I snapped it up immediately! All I can say is WOW! The pre-press was pretty nice, but the final book is absolutely *gorgeous*.While there are lots of great mindstorms books out there (most notably Dave Baum's) this is the *only* one that covers ROBOLAB, the standard for RCX programming in educational scenarios as well as the standard LEGO-provided programming environment.If you're an adult needing inspiration for your own robots, or if you have kids who like mindstorms, this book belongs in your collection!

The Best Lego Mindstorms Book I've Read

I am a teacher in the Midwest and I run an after school robotics team for around 20 5th & 6th graders. We use the Lego Mindstorm RIS kits in our club. After using the ideas from the Constructopedia that comes with each Mindstorm kit, I started looking to other areas for inspiration and ideas. What Ben Erwin's book offers is more than just a "How to" synopsis of each creation. Instead, he includes introductions, inspirations, building designs, programming [in multiple languages], and extension ideas for each project. I've bought a few of the other available Mindstorm robotic books in the past and most were either 'way over my head' or 'very simplistic'. This is definitely the perfect book for any teacher or professor who uses the Mindstorms kits in their class instruction. It is also perfect for any parent or family who creates using the Mindstorm kit in their home! As a bonus, I also believe that it is the first Mindstorm book that is printed in full color!

Great Lego book

One of the best Lego books out. Very high quality graphics and pictures. A nice collection of great projects. Full of interesting topics and tricks for Mindstorms. Covers RCX code, Robolab, NQC, and Visual Basic. RCX communication, Internet control, data logging, etc. Includes a CD and a useful parts list. Enough material to keep young minds and adults busy playing and learning.
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