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The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 Discovery Book: A Beginner's Guide to Building and Programming Robots [Paperback]

Laurens Valk
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)

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There is a newer edition of this item:
The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book (Full Color): A Beginner's Guide to Building and Programming Robots The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book (Full Color): A Beginner's Guide to Building and Programming Robots 5.0 out of 5 stars (4)
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Book Description

May 13, 2010 1593272111 978-1593272111 1
Discover the many features of the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 set. The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 Discovery Book is the complete, illustrated, beginner's guide to MINDSTORMS that you've been looking for.

The crystal clear instructions in the Discovery Book will show you how to harness the capabilities of the NXT 2.0 set to build and program your own robots. Author and robotics instructor Laurens Valk walks you through the set, showing you how to use its various pieces, and how to use the NXT software to program robots. Interactive tutorials make it easy for you to reach an advanced level of programming as you learn to build robots that move, monitor sensors, and use advanced programming techniques like data wires and variables. You'll build eight increasingly sophisticated robots like the Strider (a six-legged walking creature), the CCC (a climbing vehicle), the Hybrid Brick Sorter (a robot that sorts by color and size), and the Snatcher (an autonomous robotic arm). Numerous building and programming challenges throughout encourage you to think creatively and to apply what you've learned as you develop the skills essential to creating your own robots.

Requirements: One LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 set (#8547)

  • A complete introduction to LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0
  • Building and programming instructions for eight innovative robots
  • 50 sample programs and 72 programming challenges (ranging from easy to hard) encourage you to explore newly learned programming techniques
  • 15 building challenges expand on the robot designs and help you develop ideas for new robots
Who is this book for?

This is a perfect introduction for those new to building and programming with the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 set. The book also includes intriguing robot designs and useful programming tips for more seasoned MINDSTORMS builders.


Frequently Bought Together

The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 Discovery Book: A Beginner's Guide to Building and Programming Robots + Winning Design!: LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Design Patterns for Fun and Competition (Technology in Action)
Price for both: $38.25

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Editorial Reviews


"The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 Discovery Book should come with every MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 Kit." --GeekDad,

About the Author

Laurens Valk is a member of the MINDSTORMS Community Partners who help test and develop new NXT products. He has been inventing robots with the MINDSTORMS NXT sets since their introduction, and one of his robot designs appears on the NXT 2.0 packaging. Valk is a co-author of LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT One-Kit Wonders (No Starch Press) and a contributor to The NXT Step Blog ( He lives in the Netherlands where he studies Mechanical Engineering at Delft University of Technology.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (May 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593272111
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593272111
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Laurens Valk is a robotics engineer based in the Netherlands, where he earned a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Delft University of Technology. He is a member of the MINDSTORMS Community Partners (MCP), a select group of MINDSTORMS enthusiasts who help test and develop new MINDSTORMS products. He started building robots with the EV3 system a year before its 2013 release, and one of his designs appears on the EV3 packaging as an official bonus robot.

Laurens enjoys designing robots and creating tutorials to build and program them, so that robot fans around the world can re-create the designs and learn more about robotics. He has worked on several LEGO robotics books, including the best-selling LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 Discovery Book (No Starch Press, 2010). He blogs about robots at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
138 of 140 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take the NXT Step May 27, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I (a hardware/software developer and radio ham for some 30 years) bought LEGO Mindstorms for my now eight-year-old son last Christmas. Being a LEGO nut since he was old enough not to swallow the pieces, he's had great fun with Mindstorms since then.

But after you've built the models detailed in the Mindstorms kit, where do you go next? The Mindstorms online help is pretty good, but tiresome to read on the screen, and not the best medium for a youngster. The Alpha Rex etc. are impressive but it's hard for a child to try to make his own models of a similar complexity on the basis of the models in the Mindstorms kit. There is a huge gap between copying ready-made models and learning to create real robots from scratch, and Laurens Valk's book fills that gap perfectly.

As "the missing manual", this book thoroughly explains the NXT hardware and NXT-G software, in enough technical detail to satisfy a seasoned programmer like me, but without overloading someone who is completely new to the technology. That is no mean feat!

The building instructions are of a similar quality to those provided in the all-too-slim Mindstorms manual, and my son was able to follow them and the programming instructions with only minimal guidance from me (usually because we hadn't yet read the accompanying text! :-)

Now, there are several ways to approach this book. To get started quickly, you or your child genius can simply follow the detailed building and programming instructions to create any of the eight robots detailed in the book. My son had almost no trouble doing this: in fact, he first went after the more complex models like the Strider featured on the cover, followed by the very impressive Chimney Climber.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
From his infectious enthusiasm for the Mindstorms NXT System it might be easy to guess that Laurens Valk was introduced to Lego Robotics at age 13 just five short years ago. But, from the careful logical pedagogy of this book and his interesting approach mixing successively more advanced robots intermixed with a clearly arranged taxonomy of parts, programming tools and motor/drive train and sensor categorization, I would have imagined that this book was written by an excellent teacher with many years of experience bringing engineering concepts to youthful learners. Not only does the book offer a clear top-down beginning to end approach to both the NXT Parts Architecture and NXT-G Programming Language while combining this end-to-end approach with interesting projects of increasing difficulty, but he stimulates the reader with building and programming challenges to increase their skill at independent thought in robot building and programming. Just how far and how thoughtfully Laurens' teaching approach goes is indicated by by his unique system of flowcharting/state diagrams which both provides the logical decisions involved in programming this system with a graphical correspondence to the NXT-G Programming language.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough as an aid to using the Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 robotics system, and bringing a
new generation of roboticists and engineers to a deep and intuitive understanding these sciences. This handbook should be included in every Mindstorms NXT Set to insure that the recipient will learn, absorb and extend the concepts which this powerful educational system can teach.

--Ira Laefsky
MSE/MBA I.T. Consultant and Former Senior Staff Member Arthur D. Little, Inc. and Digital Equipment Corporation
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Are you ready for a journey of discovery? May 10, 2010
This book is the culmination of more than a year's work and it shows. It's broken up into 4 parts and will guide you through a journey of discovery. On your route to becoming a robotics master you will build no less than 8 different robots and learn about every aspect of NXT-G programming with the help of 50 sample programs. If that's not enough, you can test just how good you've become with any one of the 85 building and programming challenges.

The building and programming instructions are really nice, clear and clean; it's not hard to tell the author has done this before. Learning to program and build with your new NXT 2.0 kit will be so much more fun with this book by your side. It will knock your socks off (don't worry, there's a robot in the book that can help you pick them up again).
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the book I needed a year ago! May 17, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My eight year old son was invited to go to an FLL demonstration last August, he loved it so I enquired about the nearest team for him to join. It turned out to be me and I ended up coaching not one but two of the 23 teams entered in New Zealand's first ever FLL tournament! I knew absolutely nothing about NXT so had a VERY steep learning curve. The Help on the NXT software is great - if you know what you are looking for. I struggled for 4 months to upskill myself enough to help the kids answer their questions. I must have been partially successful in that one of my teams won the NZ competition and qualified for Atlanta. Atlanta was awesome but only made me realise how little I know and how much more I have got to learn. My team is determined to get to St Louis next year and this marvellous book will help us on the way.
This book doesn't assume you know anything about NXT but also takes you far beyond what my team needed to know to get to Atlanta. It is not just a beginner's guide.
If you are totally new to NXT or self-taught like me then this is the book for you. I got it two days ago and have already read through it once. My 9 year old son is also reading it and keeps saying "Did you know....."
A must have for anyone who is new to NXT or knows a bit and is wanting to move beyond basic programming.
When is the next book coming out Laurens?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars If you're in to Lego Robots, this is your book!
Great book! I used the Snatcher project to help my Grandson build this Robot. We built it and it worked very well. Highly recommend this book. Read more
Published 4 days ago by John H Lang
4.0 out of 5 stars Cool projects
This book has a lot of cool projects in it. My son is on the younger side of the nxt recommended age range and he can follow the directions with help. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Slingback Sally
5.0 out of 5 stars came just as advertised
Just what my 12 yrs. old grandson wanted for his birthday. He is a Lego fan and this beginning book is perfect for him. Thanks for a very smooth transaction.
Published 2 months ago by Janet Struble
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Needed this basic instructions book to help me navigate through the NXT process considering I am not very technical. Very quick delivery and book was in perfect condition.
Published 3 months ago by Kristin Santilli
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book for young Lego Mindstorm builders
Book has set of simple bots to build. It is good place to start playing and learning Mindstorm. Even bots are very simple, but activate creativity, and there are plenty ways how... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Donatas Malinauskas
5.0 out of 5 stars On time!
Actually I think it was earlier than I expected. Was glad to give it to my grandson on Christmas! Product was great! I will def order thru this company in the future.
Published 4 months ago by Jodi
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Information
I can see that this has good information especially for those that want to build something other than the educational robot.
Published 6 months ago by Rebel
4.0 out of 5 stars A good accessory for LEGO Mindstorm
A good book to help give you ideas for effectively using the Lego Mindstorm product. Made it much easier to visualize and create projects.
Published 7 months ago by Tri Geek
5.0 out of 5 stars Boys love Robots
My son loves this book. It has make his mindstorms NXT outlast other toys by keeping it interesting. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Cef
5.0 out of 5 stars I wouldn't buy Mindstorms without this book! It's that good!
I cannot imagine giving the gift of Lego Mindstorms without this book! My son, then 13, has commented throughout the year that he couldn't possibly have built as much as he had... Read more
Published 7 months ago by J. Palmer
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