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Maximum Lego NXT: Building Robots with Java Brains

2.9 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0973864915
ISBN-10: 0973864915
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[This book] succeeds brilliantly in the difficult tasks of introducing the reader to the Java language, to the Mindstorms system, and to some programming techniques peculiar to robotics . . . in such a pleasant way that [the reader] doesn't even realize [he or she is] learning new concepts."  —Mario Ferrari, author, Building Robots with Lego Mindstorms

About the Author

Brian Bagnall is the author of several computer books for Variant Press, McGraw-Hill, Prentice-Hall PTR, and Syngress Publishing. He is a key developer of leJOS, the Java SDK for LEGO MINDSTORMS. Brian is the author of the groundbreaking Core LEGO MINDSTORMS Programming, which has been translated into French and Japanese. He is a Sun Certified Java Programmer and Developer and co-author of the Sun Certified Programmer for Java 2 Study Guide.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 524 pages
  • Publisher: Variant Press (April 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0973864915
  • ISBN-13: 978-0973864915
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,844,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book was published before it was ready. There are numerous inaccuracies, misleading statements, missing steps, incorrect file names, vague references, poorly written instructions and aggrivating projects that just plain don't work or suddenly leave you in the dark

This book has many good ideas and interesting topics BUT...

NOT FOR THE NEW JAVA PROGRAMMER

Even intermediate would be pushing it.

Right from the beginning nothing works as the book describes:
- LEJOS installation instructions are wildly incorrect
- Developer environment installation and setup instructions are missing critical steps
- Critical explanations and critical steps are missing throughout
- Explanations will suddenly jump from explaining the basics to saying things like "Now download your favorite free chess program and hack it to control your chess playing robotic arm." -- Uh....okay..
- Bluetooth set-up and operation does not work as described and steps are again - missing.
- If you can't get bluetooth working, you can't do some of the projects and here again the technical level jumps from very basic to expert.
- Programs can only be run ONCE then must be downloaded again to run them again.

I'm sorely disappointed.
The LEJOS project has a LOT of great potential and I will return to it at a future date but as it currently stands this book has left a very sour taste in my mouth.
Publishing this book should have waited at least until book and product match up.
It needed a lot more proof reading.
Releasing the book in its current state only damages any LEJOS following that it could have inspired and damages the readers trust in the reputation of an author that is intelligent and very knowledgeable.
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Format: Paperback
Despite the nasty reviews surrounding this book, I strongly dis-agree. I thought this book was extremely helpful. I am a java programmer but my work is in the data integration area. This book really helped me to step out of the box and start programming movement between motors,sensors,etc. I enjoy all of Brian's writings, blogs, books, etc. You won't find a better book about programming NXT bricks with Java. And who expects a 12 year old to pick up this book and understand? It's a book most suitable for experienced java programmers.
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Format: Paperback
Received a few days ago, still getting through it. This book seems to be for people with at least some familiarity with Java.

Pros: Reasonable instructions for building a bunch of different robots, a long with some 'patterns' that can be used for your own creations; Full software listings of Java programs to control robots; seems well written with an easy to read style.

Cons: Construction plans not colour, making it difficult to follow at times; discussion of Java programs not necessarily as thorough as could be; Java discussion in general seems a bit thin; Java set up instructions seem a little glossed over.

Conclusion: It seems that this book is pitched at someone who knows at least a little bit of Java, or at the very least wants to learn about Java, and also wants to get into mindstorms. Since that pretty much sums me up, I think it is worth it's weight in gold. For those who are not familiar with Java, I think this book will still be a useful addition to the mindstorms library, however there may be better alternatives. As a Lego Mindstorms Java book for Java developers, it gets *6* stars, but as a pure Mindstorms book for those with little Java skills, I can see it could easily get knocked down to 3 or 4 stars.

Finally, not to put too fine a point on it, this book is about a hojillion times better than "LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Hacker's Guide", as this book actually gives some practical building instructions along with code to do some fairly cool stuff.
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Format: Paperback
If you are one of those Java guys, hands on, and a mechanical control lover, this is a book you don't want to miss.

From programming point of view, some very useful topics are Bluetooth setup (both Window and Linux), Serial Communication setup, Vision detection, and Voice Control. You will be amazed of how you can realize those technologies into controlling an NXT.

There are still many other interesting subjects from machanical/control point of view. This includes using GPS receiver(where you can learn NMEA Data format). It also shows you a NXT versioned Rocker-Bogie for rough terrain (I was really amaized how it works once I built a prototype). There is one special section to show you how to build a differencial gear using standard NXT parts. This really comes handy for a new Lego user who do not have an old differencial gear.

This book also includes quite some attractive design like R2me2 (resemble R2D2), Moon Buggy, Beckhambot, Mapping Robot, and number 0.5 (resembles number 5). I do like their 'abstract' concept of the design.

However, there are also negative part about this book.
1. Some photo pictures is not very clear to follow. Either too small or too dark to see the details.
2. Some mechanical design does not make it turn well (like Mapping Robot). But I guess this is due to lack of proper parts (such as differencial gear which was not included in the NXT package).
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