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The Art of LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT-G Programming [Paperback]

Terry Griffin
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 5, 2010 1593272189 978-1593272180 1

The LEGO® MINDSTORMS® software and its NXT-G programming language are powerful tools that make it easy to write custom programs for your robots. NXT-G is a great first programming language, but that doesn't mean it's easy to understand—at least not right away.

In The Art of LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT-G Programming, author and experienced software engineer Terry Griffin explains how to program MINDSTORMS robots with NXT-G. You'll learn how to work with the core parts of the NXT-G language, such as blocks, data wires, files, and variables, and see how these pieces can work together. You'll also learn good programming practices, bad habits to avoid, and useful debugging strategies.

As you follow along with the book's extensive instructions and explanations, you'll learn exactly how NXT-G works and how to:

  • Write custom programs that make your robots appear to think and respond to your commands
  • Design, create, and debug large programs
  • Write programs that use data wires and the NXT buttons to turn a robot into a contraption, like a sound generator or a sketch pad
  • Use My Blocks in your programs, and share them with others
  • Store data on the NXT, manage its memory, and transfer files between the NXT and your computer

The book's programs work with one general-purpose test robot that you'll build in Chapter 3.

Whether you're a young robotics enthusiast, an adult working with children to learn robotics, a parent, a FIRST LEGO League coach, or a teacher using NXT in the classroom, this is the complete guide to NXT-G that you've been looking for.

Requirements: One LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT or NXT 2.0 set


Frequently Bought Together

The Art of LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT-G Programming + 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 all three: $58.70

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Terry Griffin has been a software engineer for over 20 years and has spent most of that time creating software for controlling various types of machines. He works for Carl Zeiss SMT on the Orion Helium Ion Microscope, programming the user interface and high-level control software. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Liz, a middle school math and science teacher, and their three daughters, Cheyenne, Sarah, and Samantha.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (September 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593272189
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593272180
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 8.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars first rate book August 3, 2011
By drdave
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is well written, well illustrated, and highly informative. I would recommend it as a first book for an NXT library. It is focused on the programming and includes the design for one robot. This is the opposite of most other books which tend to include several robot designs and only touch on the programming. After reading this book one can confidently program NTX robots. It is very thorough and covers many important subtle issues that could cause problems if not highlighted in this book. Additionally, it presents good programming practices. I should add that I am an experienced programmer and have had some prior LabView (which is also and excellent system) experience.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NXT-G Programming help October 14, 2010
By CyBot-G
Format:Paperback
Whether you are a neophyte or intermediate programmer The Art of LEGO® Mindstorms® NXT-G Programming is definitely a good teaching book to have in your library.

The book starts off with an excellent brief overview of the LEGO® NXT Mindstorms® kit and NXT-G software. Then the book goes into an in-depth coverage of the software. There is a nice picture instruction for building a rather simple "test" robot to practice programming with. The Move block & motor are covered in one chapter and in another chapter an overview of the sensors and programming them. The rest of the book covers data wires, program flow, a couple of useful programs, my blocks, and datalogging for ding (educational NXT kit) experiments; everything you need to know to become a proficient NXT-G programmer.

The book is written in fairly easy to understand language, there are examples, and lots of pictures of the programming. The instructions for writing a particular program are clear and concise.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Terry Griffin faced down multiple challenges in creating a book for teaching NXT-G programming to growing Roboticists. Any good introductory programming manual must teach the arithmetic, control flow, hierarchical and logical components of programming to the neophyte in a structured pedagogically sound manner that delivers concepts one at a time while giving the overall challenge art and technique of programming as a learned deliverable. This is especially important in teaching children and adolescents (as well as the teachers and coaches who guide them). I am sure from the excellent, clear and exciting instruction given in this book that his wife, a middle school math and science teacher, guided him in developing a careful and easily learned pedagogy.

But there is an important additional element in teaching a language to be used for robotics and embedded programming. The program must work closely with hardware to form a system which "works" in the robot. In the third chapter Mr. Griffin gives full instructions for constructing a "Test Robot" which can be tested and debugged with the software to create tangible examples where programs can be understood in the context of the motors they operate, the sensors from which they receive data and the actuators which they operate.

Mr. Griffin succeeds excellently in giving over the concepts of programming to a young audience and in the context of learning and working with robotics and embedded systems. I could not offer higher praise for a book on this topic.

--Ira Laefsky MSE/MBA
Information Technology & HCI Consultant formerly on the Senior Staff of Arthur D. Little, Inc. and Digital Equipment Corporation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent NXT-G book March 10, 2012
By Mark
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Finally! A Mindstorms book that explains programming as its focus rather than an afterthought. This is an excellent scaffolding book that takes you from a beginner to an advanced programmer in a clear and logical fashion. I have looked far and wide and this is truly the only book that concentrates on programming. It has a bit on building robots and it is very utilitarian and useful. I wish I had found this book a year ago.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, SLOW SHIPPING October 12, 2012
Format:Paperback
Book is good- wish it was in COLOR. has directions on how to build and program robot. building would be easier if it were in color. overall good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book to understand NXT-G October 9, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book has a lot of useful tips that explain the sometimes mysterious ways of Lego Mindstorms behavior. I searched for a reference document of either NXT-G and/or Lego Mindstorms brick, but could not find any. In absence of a reference, this is the most comprehensive description of the NXT-G currently available.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Progamming October 3, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is very elementary without many activities for students. I was looking for class exercises and believe there are better sources. It is a good starter book for someone just getting into lego programming. Illustrations are nice.
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