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on October 27, 2011
Unfortunately, the book preview is completely wrong for this book. The actual book uses very cheap B&W printing. As a result, the pictures of robots and the instructions for building models are completely illegible. As an adult, I was able to piece together the models with some guesswork. However, the target audience for the book is late elementary/middle school kids. My kids found it extremely frustrating to use the book. I ended up purchasing the PDF version of the book. The illustrations in the PDF are in color and are much higher quality than the printed book! I would recommend the PDF version for anyone considering this book.

The actual contents of the book are quite useful for kids interested in the competitions with the NXT robot. There are lots of good ideas and some basic designs to get started with. Among the books that I have seen for contests like FLL, this is the best from a technical content point of view.

So... 1 star for the printing and 4 stars for the content.
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on December 22, 2010
I've participated in many FLL tournaments as a technical judge, and I've seen many good robot designs hampered by a lack of understanding of some basic design principles. I've now completed reading the book and I'm quite impressed with the author's decision to break the book into four sections, each focusing on a particular skill (or skills) and providing plenty of real world examples of HOW and WHY things are done... or should be done.

The book is HEAVY on figures... and that's a good thing. Many of the concepts that the author writes about simply cannot be understood well without some hands-on explanations. That's why teams will be pleased to see diagrams and examples using real NXT parts to explain concepts such as turning, squaring up along a wall, and line following. And he didn't leave out some great discussion on attachments - one of the most important concepts for teams who wish to successfully accomplish multiple game table elements.

Finally, the author provides some tips and suggestions for managing your programs as well as presenting them (and the robot) to the technical judging team. And you'll also find complete building instructions for the DemoBot... a real robot that the author uses to demonstrate techniques throughout the book... build it and THEN read the book!

All in all, I'm very pleased with the book - I think new/rookie FLL teams will receive the most benefit from the book, but experienced teams are sure to find some stuff in here that will improve their scores and successes.
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on March 23, 2013
This book delivers what it promises: winning design. It's especially useful for teams or coaches for First Lego League (FLL). If read thoroughly, it covers just about every detail you'd need to know to get a novice team up and running. If this is your first FLL team, I'd suggest going through before the season starts, or as soon as you get started. It also will even help an experienced team to think in the way that judges are most impressed by when designing your robot. Does it cover every aspect and every possibility for robot design? No. Should it? No. If there were typos, they didn't distract me. I'd consider it high on my list of my reference books for FLL.

Part of the process for FLL IS figuring out how to look at a situation and take an iterative approach to process improvement. This book more than gets you there, if you use the information as a sound jumping off point.

FYI-- Here would be my list of other reference books, in order my frequency of use:
The LEGO Technic Idea Books: Simple Machines, Fantastic Contraptions, and Wheeled Wonders all by Yoshihito Isogawa
First Lego League, The Unofficial Guide by James Floyd Kelly and Jonathan Daudelin
The Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 Discovery Book by Laurens Valk
Building Robots with Lego Mindstorms NXT by Astolfo, Ferrari and Ferrari
Forbidden Lego by Pilegaard and Dooley
Lego Mindstorms NXT-G Programming Guide by James Floyd Kelly
Benchmarks for Science Literacy, Project 2061, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science
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on December 20, 2010
This book provides extremely useful information for preparing and getting ahead in the robotics competition. As a rookie coach, I wish I had access to this book prior to this year's FLL tournament. It can be very helpful to both rookie and experienced teams/coaches as it discusses many design and programming topics that teams will encounter so that teams can achieve consistent results with their robots. There are lots of typos but a small distraction for what this book has to offer. I highly recommend.
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on February 28, 2011
If you're interested in creative ways to solve NXT problems, then this book is for you. It offers both software solutions and building solutions. I coach an NXT team and have 10 boys ages 9-14, after reading this book we all learned something!
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on January 26, 2011
The author's purpose for this book is to help coaches and teams better understand what it takes to successfully compete in the Robot Performance and Technical of the FIRST LEGO League and other LEGO(R) robotics events. He offers insight into what it takes to develop hopefully a winning robot; and what comes across in the book is planning: planning robot design, planning the order of executing the missions, planning in programming.

It is a book for both rookie teams as well as veteran teams. It is one of those "everything you need to know" books about building a robot for the FLL tournament. Coaches/instructors will find the book well organized so they can go directly to one of the four major areas of discussion and find the information and advice they need; it is full of helpful tips.

The focus of the book is on using the LEGO(R) Mindstorms(R) NXT kit and NXT-G programming, but the author also included a little about RoboLab(R) software. In Appendix A there are building instructions for the DemoBot. Perhaps you would want to build the DemoBot before reading this book, so reading the book could be a hands-on experience as well.
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on August 29, 2015
I want so much to write a good review for this book, especially since I found the information useful enough to purchase two more copies for my favorite FLL teams. But I have to vent my extreme disappointment in the demobot graphics. The print pictures are so terrible as to be almost useless. APRESS has an ebook version with decent graphics but you are required to purchase that for an additional cost. The graphics in the electronic version are color and very nice but in all honesty, Apress should be ashamed at making people have to make an additional purchase for this version even at $5.00. Not the whole book, but IMHO the color building illustrations should be free to those who can prove they have the print version.
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on September 9, 2013
The text looked interesting, but if the title of your book says "Winning Design!", you should include legible lego designs with detailed instructions. The illustrations were black and white (and maybe light black as the third "color") and low resolution. I couldn't follow them. I'll admit that once I saw the poor quality illustrations, I returned it. Perhaps this is a different edition of the book? Unfortunate, because it looks like it has the potential to be excellent.
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on January 9, 2011
A book primarily for mentors and participants of FLL competitions but with common sense suggestions that can be used by anyone competing in a robotics competition using Lego's Mindstorm NXT brick and building components. There are good chapter and subsection titles which make it easy to locate relevant information easily. Good to see chapters about presented your work to judges included alongside the more technical advice of designing, building and programming.

By breaking down each section into easy to read sub-sections a mentor can quickly show a team member the information they may need to get over a problem whilst designing and building a robot ready for competition.PDF E-book version has good bookmarks for getting to relevant information quickly.

There are great competition tips in each section that will give a novice team more confidence and remind a more experienced team of little things they may have overlooked. The book provides simple solutions for beginners to try and then leads on the more complex solutions for more experienced competitors to try .

Each section is accompanied by good illustrations, diagrams and sample programs to try. The illustrations and diagrams are good and relate well to the text they support.

The book includes instructions for building a DemoBot so that the reader can explore and experiment as they are reading. A great way to reinforce the ideas presented. Programming diagrams allow for instant experimentation with the DemoBot.

Apart from some annoying typos the book is easy to read and provides great technical information for FLL teams and mentors. A great resource book for keen NXT builders and FLL competitors.
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on May 3, 2012
I am capable of building robot models but could not build a full robot that was useable with this book. I did not buy the additional Online E-book that accompanies this book, I am not sure if it's worth the extra cost. I have seen others on youtube use these robots so maybe the E-book helps. (I tested the waters by borrowing this book from the library, didn't like it.)

The website has a book called "Preparing Your Team for FIRST Lego League" by KK Quah that is helpful for beginner level teams. The author has coached a team that won 1st place in the FLL in 2010, and he serves as a Judge, along with continuing to coach teams for the FTC and VEX robotics competitions. The book features a very simple robot, not even with a motorized attachment, but has illustrations and a cd-rom with a few color illustrations to build a good base robot with simple mechanical attachments, and also features some simple programs, has some ideas for how to guide the teams with certain skill building lessons, and has some worksheets that can be given to the kids to help guide their design and mission solving process, but some of the attachments are also hard to see but more buildable than this other book. The "Preparing" book is expensive though, rivaling this book's cost if you add on the E-book.
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