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LEGO Mindstorms NXT Power Programming: Robotics in C Paperback – November 7, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0973864922 ISBN-10: 0973864923

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Variant Press (November 7, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0973864923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0973864922
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,928,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Hansen is the author of several popular LEGO MINDSTORMS tools and utilities, including the Bricx Command Center as well as the NeXT Byte Codes (NBC) and Not eXactly C (NXC) programming languages for the NXT. He actively maintains the Not Quite C (NQC) tool for programming previous generations of LEGO MINDSTORMS products. He was a member of the MINDSTORMS Users Panel, the MINDSTORMS Developer Program, and is currently a member of the MINDSTORMS Community Partners. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

Customer Reviews

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This is a well-written, clearly presented and very well produced book from an acknowledged expert.
Tony
If you are interested in programming your NXT beyond what NXT-G can do (the environment that comes with the retail kit) this is the book for you.
Steve Hon
The book begins with an introduction to some basic programming concepts and then shows you how to set up NBC/NXC.
David J. Perdue

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By David J. Perdue on December 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
While the official NXT-G programming language included in the LEGO Mindstorms NXT set works well for many people, what if you want to increase your programming potential or simply prefer a text-based language rather than a graphical one? John C. Hansen's book provides the answer to both of these questions by teaching you how to program the NXT in NeXT Byte Codes (NBC) and Not eXactly C (NXC).

The book begins with an introduction to some basic programming concepts and then shows you how to set up NBC/NXC. Since these unofficial languages are based on the standard firmware, you don't have to download custom firmware to your microcomputer, making setup a breeze. Chapters 2 through 4 discuss the NXT hardware, NXT firmware, and basic construction concepts, respectively. If you're new to the NXT set, you'll find these chapters helpful.

Chapter 5 covers the BricxCC IDE, which supports NBC, NXC, and a number of other languages. This is definitely one of my favorite chapters. BricxCC is an incredibly powerful but user-friendly program, and this chapter shows how to effectively use and customize BricxCC. Perhaps the most interesting chapter in the book is Chapter 6, which discusses free NXT utilities that perform miscellaneous functions.

The real power programming begins in Chapters 7 and 8, which cover NXC and NBC. If, like me, you've programmed the RCX microcomputer in Not Quite C (NQC), you'll be glad to see that Hansen created NXC with a lot of the same features and same "feel." Naturally, these chapters are most easily understood if you have a background in C or programming in general, but such knowledge is not required.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Tony on January 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
Summary: An excellent 'next step' for getting the most from this powerful computer system

Mindstorms NXT is robot building tool from Lego. The centrepiece is a large "brick" containing a 32-bit ARM7 computer - the kind of computer you might find in a PDA or a Smartphone. The kit includes a graphical programming environment capable of quite complex programs as well as being accessible to beginners and youngsters. The kit also includes motors and sensors, wheels, gears, and a whole lot of technic-style Lego to hold them together.

John Hansen's book takes all of these components and organises them in a coherent and easily understandable fashion. He describes how to use the various components and explains the sensors (that range from a simple contact switch to a sophisticated ultrasonic distance sensor). However, the real strength of the book is in its approach to programming of the system.

Power Programming describes how to maximise the capability of the kit by programming it using a conventional, textual programming language that is close to standard C. This is both more natural to anyone who already has a smattering of programming knowledge and, ultimately, capable of more complex and much faster programs for the NXT. Best of all, the system that Hansen describes is a free, open-source toolkit usable on Mac, PC and Linux; just download it from the WWW and you're ready to roll.

NXC (Not eXactly C) and the complementary assembler, NBC (NeXT Byte Code) are explained in a clear and authoritative way (Hansen is the author of the compilers too) before the book explores the rest of the system.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Steve Hon on February 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
If you are interested in programming your NXT beyond what NXT-G can do (the environment that comes with the retail kit) this is the book for you. You don't have to change out the firmware as you do for other text based programming languages, so you can continue to use NXT-G. In fact both types of programs can reside on the NXT at the same time.

There is a great chapter giving details on the Bricx integrated development environment and all the tools that come with it. It is very complete.

The versa bot that is detailed in the book is a great platform to add to and make your own modifications to. I have already made several of my own modules for it and wrote programs to take advantage of them with NXC.
There are several other bots to be built in the book that I have yet to get built, as I am still adding to the versa bot, but I definitely will though. The etch a sketch one looks really cool and I am sure programming it will teach me a lot.

Thanks should go out to John Hansen (the author) for all the contributions he has made, and continues to make to the Mindstorms Robotic community. The Mindstorms is a great platform to aid the young in learning and teaching the old to stay young.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Mcrae on September 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book written by someone who was involved in-depth with NXT programming as the NXT product evolved. Lots of good examples of C code will speed your learning curve.
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By Chris Reisig on January 6, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Exactly as advertised. Almost no wear. Delivered on time. Contains basic programming for Mindstorms, with sufficient examples to be effective for self study.
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