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Joe Nagata's Lego Mindstorms Idea Book Paperback – April, 2001

ISBN-13: 068-9145114096 ISBN-10: 1886411409 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1886411409
  • ISBN-13: 978-1886411401
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,672,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Lots of engineers--and more than a few others--cherish their memories of childhood Lego kits. Indeed, one-time finger-on-the-pulse author Douglas Coupland used Lego blocks as a metaphor for the community of under-30 software workers in his book, Microserfs. With the release of LEGO MindStorms, the nubbly toys come of age with motors, sensors, and--most importantly--the ability to follow procedural rules described in software programs. Joe Nagata's LEGO MindStorms Idea Book is a fantastic companion to the mechanized pieces: well worth the cover price for anyone who's played around with MindStorms and is looking for project ideas.

Nagata covers both sides of the MindStorms equation--mechanical construction and logical control--very well. Every step in the physical assembly procedure for each robot is clearly illustrated with orthographic drawings similar to those in Lego kit documentation. Color would make these drawings even better (they're printed in contrasting gray tones, with color pictures of each finished project in a center section) but would probably add a lot to the price. The coverage of software is good too, consisting variously (depending on the complexity of the program) of a screen shot of the MindStorms visual programming environment or a listing of Not Quite C (NQC) code. This book achieves what should be the main goal of any book about Lego blocks: it gets the reader thinking about ways to modify and expand on the ideas in it. --David Wall

Topics covered: How to construct and program a variety of creatures, vehicles, and machines with LEGO MindStorms pieces. Projects include (this list is comprehensive) a car, a centipede, a vehicle that skates, a dinosaur, a train that runs on tracks, a walker with articulated legs, a segmented vehicle that will climb over obstacles, an analog clock, a six-legged bug that can be made to turn right and left, and a very (very) cool car, in which the motor is used not for direct propulsion, but to compress air that propels the vehicle forward.

From the Publisher

Building robots is something that kids and adults can enjoy together. This book is an easy, step-by-step guide to building custom robots. With lots of pictures and simple instructions, it is a useful and exciting way to have more fun with the LEGO MINDSTORMS Robotics kit. And, with its Japanese origins, it brings a certain inventiveness and element of fun found only in Japan.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By "sunni@sohappy.net" on October 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
Perhaps I'm spoiled by Dave Baum's great books but I found this book very frustrating. Some of the bots are interesting but I was unable to build most of them because they require extra parts that don't come in the Lego Mindstorms RIS. That'd be OK if the book told you what extra part syou need but I'd get 70% done and find myself short 6 #3 elbows (or whatever). True, he lists the needed parts before each bot, but he doesn't tell you which ones aren't part of the RIS. Baum does. Also, the pictures in the book lack contrast so it is hard to see details and the "steps" aren't specific. Buy the Baum books instead.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Richard Jenkins on April 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is a very good resource for learning the mechanical aspects of Mindstorms robots. The book provides step-by-step detail for several robot creations, with a range of complexities.
PROS: Detailed building plans and programs. Building tips to help you understand the principals behind the design. Joe Nagata: just go to his web site to see his LEGO creations and you'll know you're in good hands. Some really inventive creations, like the "water skater," a wheeled 'bot that propels itself using the same motion that a skater would use.
CONS: You'll need more parts than come with the standard Mindstorms kit. The book doesn't seem to be laid out correctly -the instructions for the current frame are adjacent to the next frame. Once you figure it out, it's not a problem. Some of the models didn't work very well as built - this is actually a PRO if you like to learn by troubleshooting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Richard Jenkins on April 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is a very good resource for learning the mechanical aspects of Mindstorms robots. The book provides step-by-step detail for several robot creations, with a range of complexities.
PROS: Detailed building plans and programs. Building tips to help you understand the principals behind the design. Joe Nagata: just go to his web site to see his LEGO creations and you'll know you're in good hands. Some really inventive creations, like the "water skater," a wheeled 'bot that propels itself using the same motion that a skater would use.
CONS: You'll need more parts than come with the standard Mindstorms kit. The book doesn't seem to be laid out correctly -the instructions for the current frame are adjacent to the next frame. Once you figure it out, it's not a problem. Some of the models didn't work very well as built - this is actually a PRO if you like to learn by troubleshooting.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on January 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
Joe Nagata's Lego Mindstorms Idea Book is a completely "user friendly" tutorial and "how to" guide book to making working robots. Profusely illustrated with more than 250 original CAD drawings and offering summaries of engineering principles and programming code, readers are easily able to understand how each robot works. Each robot building project includes a parts list as well as step-by-step instructions for their creation. Joe Nagata's Lego Mindstorms Idea Book is strongly recommended for anyone of any age or background who has ever watched an episode of "Robot Wars" and wanted to get in on the fun!
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