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JunkBots, Bugbots, and Bots on Wheels: Building Simple Robots With BEAM Technology Paperback – September 27, 2002

ISBN-13: 078-3254040779 ISBN-10: 0072226013 Edition: 1st
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JunkBots, Bugbots, and Bots on Wheels: Building Simple Robots With BEAM Technology + Robot Builder's Bonanza, 4th Edition + Robot Building for Beginners, 2nd Edition (Technology in Action)
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Create a cool robot from scratch--in just a few hours!

Ever wonder what to do with those discarded items in your junk drawer? Now you can use electronic parts from old Walkmans, spare remote controls, even paper clips to build your very own autonomous robots and gizmos. Get step-by-step instructions from the Junkbot masters for creating simple and fun self-guiding robots safely and easily using common and not-so-common objects from around the house--or within a quick shopping trip away. Using BEAM technology, ordinary tools, salvaged electronic bits, and the occasional dead toy, you'll be able to construct a solar-powered obstacle-avoiding device, engineer a mini-sumo-wrestling robot, build a motorized walking robot bug, and much more. So grab your screwdriver, raid that dumpster, and join the robot-building revolution!

  • Get an overview of basic electronics, robot construction methods, and learn the difference between "dead bug" and "live bug" electronics
  • Identify the essential tools you need for mechanical assembly and gain important safety tips
  • Find out why BEAM robotics is a growing alternative to traditional CPU-based robotics
  • Learn "dumpster diving" strategies for collecting prime robot construction material that's available no other way
  • Use a cell phone battery or solar panel from a calculator to create dual-power sources for your robot
  • Understand how to use soldering equipment and various support tools

About the Author

McGraw-Hill authors represent the leading experts in their fields and are dedicated to improving the lives, careers, and interests of readers worldwide
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Product Details

  • Series: Consumer
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media; 1 edition (September 27, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0072226013
  • ISBN-13: 978-0072226010
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 10.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #646,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Gareth Branwyn on November 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is, by far, the best robotics how-to book I've ever read. I've been following the BEAM "movement" from its inception, and Dave Hrynkiw's work for years. This book makes the BEAM approach toward robotics accessible to everyone, from the complete newbie to the more experienced hobbyist.
I was amazed at how well the book was written (it's genuinely funny in spots), and how much attention to detail was evident in clear photos and well-done illustrations. This is a model for how such a book should be done.
There are seven projects in the book, from a simple solar-powered top to a rather sophisticated four-legged insect-like walker. Set-by-step instructions are given for each project, along with process photos and circuit diagrams.
One of the coolest things about BEAMbots is that they're often built from analog electronics scavenged from techno-junk (old solar calculators, Walkman, pagers, modems, etc.). Dave provides info on how to round up this junk and where to go for the parts you can't scrounge.
I think that making some of these little autonomous robo-critters and letting them scuttle and flail around in your office (seeking light, avoiding light, dodging obstacles) would be a great way of flexing your superior geek muscles. Make some of these babies and you'll be the envy of propellerheads everywhere!
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Morris E. Rosenthal on November 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
Great book for beginners in robotics OR electronics. This book focuses on the minimalist BEAM approach to robotics, as opposed to the full blown combat robots you see on TV. Starts with the real basics, everything from reading resistor color bands (BBROYGBVGW - Bad Boys etc...) to proper soldering techniques. Then it moves on to a series of step-by-step micro-bot builds, generously illustrated with photos and diagrams. If you can't find the parts around the house to build your bots, you can always take the author's dumpster diving tips to heart. I'd recommend this book for anybody who's not afraid of soldering and glue fumes.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Dave Oppenheimer on March 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
As a graphic designer by trade, I dabble in building robots. The BEAM philosophy for building robots is really quite amazing because the focus is on reuse of discarded electronics while striving to make your robots look as asthetically pleasing as possible. The strength of this work is that now everybody may build a robot easily and quickly.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Frank Kennedy on September 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is very well done. The photos are phenomenal, the mechanical diagrams are very consice and exact and the subject matter is explained very well. The only reason I give it a 3-star rating is because all of the material is available on the internet for free - although I do like having the book on my shelf. I don't agree that the simple beam technolgy will stand the test of time because what they call a "nervous network" is actual just a simple analog sequence generator and cannot be programmed to allow the robot to do practical work. If you want to have some control over what your robot is going to do, then you need to get a book that explains the use of microcontrollers. Try a book by Myke Predko. Definitely buy this book though!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. Bamford on March 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
I am just investigating BEAM for some physical computing course work and was pleased by the straighforward nature of the examples and explanations of what it takes to make your own "bugbots".

Tilden is the father of this movement and Dave Hrynkiw injects a friendly warm tone to the writing that makes this easy to peruse.

I built the first bot yesterday and had a really great time with the process. I agree with previous posters that some of this is on the internet, but this book is moderately priced and worth having around.
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22 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 4, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although this book describes the BEAM technology that was germane in 2002, times have certainly left it behind. Very few of the projects that were contemporaneous with those mentioned in this book are very few still purchasable as complete kits & "dumpster diving" has become definitely a less profitable source of parts since newer consumer products involve substantially less likelihood from which to farm out parts.

With regard to kits, perhaps the worst example of that is at least one product (SunSwinger) shown on one of the Solarbotics catalog pages "has not been available" for at least four years - and it was one of the best they ever produced, exemplifying BEAM at its original peak. Also, it is also truly sad the the "Bicore Experimenter's Board" is no longer available because in ONE legal-sized breadboard there were a huge number of 'mini-breadboards' that could be split out in order to form new and exciting experiments using only the absolutely minimum 'real-estate' required.

These days it is far better to follow the BEAM list on YahooGroups and various blogs - the information covered by the book is often discussed there repeatedly throughout the year and it is the only place whatsoever where any forward progress in BEAM technology is shown. For example, if one were to sample the products being sold by nearly ALL robotics retailers these days, you would see the huge trend toward the current popularity of the use of microcontrollers. BEAM robots DEFINITELY were originally analog devices in the past, but people simply are almost exclusively using digital technology to build their devices now.
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