About the Author
Mario Ferrari received his first Lego box around 1964, when he was 4. Lego was his favorite toy for many years, until he thought he was too old to play with it. In 1998, the Lego Mindstorms RIS set gave him reason to again have Lego become his main addiction. Mario believes Lego is the closest thing to the perfect toy. He is Managing Director at EDIS, a leader in finishing and packaging solutions and promotional packaging. The advent of the MINDSTORMS product line represented for him the perfect opportunity to combine his interest in IT and robotics with his passion for LEGO bricks, which started during his early childhood. Mario has been a very active member of the online MINDSTORMS community from the beginning and has pushed LEGO robotics to its limits. Mario holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Turin and has always nourished a strong interest for physics, mathematics, and computer science. He is fluent in many programming languages and his background includes positions as an IT manager and as a project supervisor. Mario estimates he owns over 60,000 Lego pieces. Mario works in Modena, Italy, where he lives with his wife Anna and his children Sebastiano and Camilla.
Giulio Ferrari is a student in Economics at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, where he also studied Engineering. He is fond of computers and has developed utilities, entertainment software, and Web applications for several companies. Giulio discovered robotics in 1998, with the arrival of MINDSTORMS, and held an important place in the creation of the Italian LEGO community. He shares a love for LEGO bricks with his oldest brother Mario, and a strong curiosity for the physical and mathematical sciences. Giulio also has a collection of 1200 dice, including odd-faced dice and game dice. He studies, works, and lives in Modena, Italy.
Dave Astolfo (GIS A.S.) is a Project Manager / Business Analyst with the technical arm of a North American environmental consulting company. He currently provides project management, technical consulting, database design and software architecture with a focus on Geographic Information Systems ranging from desktop mapping software, web mapping portals and mobile software applications. His specialties range from database modeling, software design / architecture. Dave is a key contributor to the business development and implementation of products and services. As such, he develops enterprise-wide technology solutions and methodologies focused on client organizations. Dave holds a bachelor’s degree from Trent University and is a certified Geographic Information Systems Applications Specialist holding a certificate from Sir Sandford Fleming College. In early 2006, Dave was invited by Lego to participate in the Lego Mindstorms Developer Program (MPD) to help Lego beta test the pre-release of the Lego Mindstorms NXT robotics system. After the release of the NXT, Dave was invited back to participate in the Lego Mindstorms Community Partner Program (MCP) to work with Lego in developing the product further while and providing an ear to the community. Dave has been involved with Lego all of his life, and has been working with the Mindstorms product since the initial release of the Lego Mindstorms Robotics Invention System (RIS) in 1998. Dave is well known for building a Mindstorms domino-placing robot which was published in a previous Syngress book (10 Cool Lego Ultimate Builders Lego Mindstorms Robots). Since then, he has created newer versions with a more recent NXT version being used by Lego marketing staff in Europe. Visit Dave’s site, www.plastibots.com, for more information on his work.