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LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT: The Mayan Adventure (Technology in Action) 1st Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1590597637
ISBN-10: 159059763X
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James Floyd Kelly is a freelance writer living in Atlanta, Georgia, with degrees in English and Industrial Engineering. A long-time Lego Mindstorms developer, he is editor-in-chief of the world's most popular Lego blog, thenxtstep.com, which continues to draw an estimated 30,000+ readers monthly, and is a regular contributor to the Lego Mindstorm development team. James Kelly has written on topics including robotics, building custom computers and free software. His most recent book, Don't Spend a Dime: The Path to Low-Cost Computing, is the first book on free software to be published in four years. When not writing, he and his wife enjoy watching their little boy discover all kinds of new and exciting things about the world.


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Product Details

  • Series: Technology in Action
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Apress; 1 edition (December 11, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159059763X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590597637
  • ASIN: B003BVK3CU
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,853,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Kelly on December 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
The description that Amazon is providing lacks detail, so let me please share with you how this book works.

First, there are 5 robot projects that require one (1) NXT robotics kit - preferably the retail kit, but the educational kit will work with some minor substitutions.

The book has a storyline running through it - Evan is on vacation with his archaeologist uncle in Guatemala, exploring a newly discovered Mayan tomb. The archaeology team begins to encounter problems in accessing areas of the tomb and Evan comes to the rescue by offering to build small robots that can go in and accomplish certain tasks that a human cannot.

The book is broken into 5 sections. Each section has 1 chapter that has part of the fictional story. The story starts in Chapter 1 and continues in chapters 5, 9, 13, 17, and concludes in chapter 21.

Next, each section contains a "building theory" chapter that helps you to examine the problem the archaeology team has encountered and to brainstorm (mindstorm) a robotics solution. You use a "Design Journal Page" for each robot (and I've included 6 blank copies in the back of the book for you to follow along). These theory chapters are found in chapters 2, 6, 10, 14, and 18.

Finally, complete building instructions (photos) are provided for all 5 robots in chapters 3, 7, 11, 15, and 19. Programming instructions (screenshots of the NXT-G programming language) are provided in chapters 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20. In these chapters you'll also find instructions for setting up your "testing environment" to simulate the challenges faced by the archaeological team.
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Format: Paperback
My 13-year old son loves the NXT, but he's too busy to sit down with a kit and make his own projects. He has BEGGED for step-by-step building and programming instructions for NXT robots.

This book has met his need in spades.

There are five robots in the book to build and program, and step-by-step instructions are provided for each. The book also has a friendly, encouraging style, which kids and parents will appreciate.

The model instructions that come with the NXT kit are good, but the kit only provides instructions for building four robots. Your child will go through those robots in a hurry! (Mine did). If there are parents out there who have purchased an NXT kit for their child, then I'd encourage you to make this book a companion purchase.

For those kids who DO have time to get creative, the book encourages that, too. Each robot in the book is given a specific "mission" to complete, and kids are encouraged to complete the mission by using their own robot designs. There's a "design journal" in the back of the book, where kids can keep track of their own NXT creations.

This is the ONLY NXT book out there that caters to kids. If you and/or your child are new to the NXT, then this book is a perfect and USEFUL introduction.
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I cannot describe just how great this book is - I am a software engineer with over 13 years of experience and found Mr. Kelly's approach to learning to play with the NXT excellent and beyond my expectations. The first four chapters are broken up logically. Chapter 1 contains a well written story and lays the foundation of the problems and challanges that await the reader. During this chapter the first 'problem' is introduced. The 2nd chapter is devoted exclusively towards reiterating the problem and laying out the analysis of 'how to solve' the problem at hand. Also during this chapter the reader is given an introduction on a "Design Journal" that will later assist them building the solution. The end of the chapter 2, the reader can continue to read chapters 3 and 4 - which layout the author's solution to the problem or spend time on attempting their solution to the problem that was just introduced and analyzed. Chapter 3 deals with the 'hardware' implementation of the solution - specifically the building of the robot. Chapter 4 lays out the software solution. This was exactly the best approach for young readers!! However, don't feel this book is something you can give your child and then walk away. You have to involve yourself in the process - you have to read it, you have to work the solution with your budding LEGO master builder. I am working through the exercises with my 10 year old son who has been interested in robots for a number of months now. He has really enjoyed reading the book and has even started working out his own solutions with the "design journal".
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I love this book. Having been an Industrial Arts teacher years ago I can appreciate the planning process for each building project. Though I know the story line is more for kids than adults, I am enjoying reading it and then building and performing the robot challenges. I think the Design Journal page is great because it will help me develop robots beyond what is offered in this book. In essence it helps me think! I received the Mindstorms NXT set for Christmas at age 64. I love to build things and haven't had this much fun doing it for years. The Mindstorms NXT is an excellent learning tool for youngsters and an excellent way to keep an "oldster's" mind young. This book truly enhances the learning experience.
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