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The Lego Mindstorms NXT Zoo! An Unofficial, Kid-Friendly Guide to Building Robotic Animals with the Lego Mindstorms NXT Paperback – February 22, 2008
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About the Author
Fay Rhodes is co-author of The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Idea Book(No Starch), a 2007 member of LEGO's MINDSTORMS Community Partners (MCP), and the only female contributor to the NXT Step Blog.
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Top Customer Reviews
|Length: 1:23 Mins|
I received this book last week Monday. When I bought this book, I was very sceptical about this book because a peacock on wheels on the cover was a little strange. But I also build a Giraffe with a fifth middle leg based on the book from Benjamin Erwin "Creative Projects with Lego Mindstorms (RIS kit)" which seems also unusual at that time. Also the book of Benjamin Erwin is also an excellent book. So this is of no surprise that I bought this book also.
My skepticism melted as snow for the sun when I saw the creatures and the building instructions inside the book. This book is clearly written with its audience in mind, ie Children. The building instructions are very clear and detailled. The explanations are also easy to follow.
What could be improved, is the explanation of the NXT-G programming language. In my opinion they go not deep enough. An in depth coverage of the NXT motors, touch, ultrasonic, light sensors is missing. Expecially the "Why" and "What for" questions are not answered. But that is already written in Jim Kelly's book "Lego Mindstorms NXT-G Programming Guide". Both books are complementary to each other. So if you buy the NXT Zoo, I think it is a good idea to by the NXT-G programming language also.
I build "Spiderbot" without any problem (I am an adult, I love robotics and bought my first RIS set in august 2005). I found it easy to build, despite the fact those images are not in color. Using color should have added an extra "touch" to this fine book but it would make it also much more expensive. Nevertheless all those images give a very clear and detailled view how to construct the animals.Read more ›
As the author states in the Preface, there are plenty of books for adults that are geared towards NXT, but this book is 100% focused on its primary audience: kids.
First, the subject matter - animals. You can't go wrong with giving kids building and programming plans to build their own skunk, alligator, and dinosaur (only 3 of 9 great little robots). And the designs don't just LOOK like their counterparts - the author has provided programming that makes them mimic the real-life animal. (And the book's website has instructions for adding realistic sounds.)
Second, the building instructions - easy to follow. The author not only provides some of the clearest NXT building instructions to date, but she also provides a complete checklist of the parts required (and the website has a useful chart for locating the needed parts). Also nice is the fact that the list of parts NOT included with the Education Base Kit is very small and the author tells you where the parts can be ordered.
Finally, some random musings:
1. Nice mini-tutorial on using Peeron to locate parts
2. Complete walkthroughs of the programs (with accurate screenshots) for each robot
3. The appendices are a nice addition, with materials for teachers and troubleshooting tips
4. Companion website has additional material for teachers and kids
All in all, the book is a worthy addition to the NXT bookshelf. Even adult fans will enjoy the designs and some of the very smart little design tricks that are shared. And kids are going to love it.
He was very excited to get it, too, and immediately started constucting the spider bot... and then he realized he didn't have half the needed parts. So he tried to make the frog bot...and again, same thing. He was very frustrated by this point and asked that we return the book.
I told him I would try to find the parts he was missing online, and, thanks to the companion Web site, starting making a list of what he would need... which ended up being over 200 pieces of dozens of different types!
My son would've rated this book a 1, but I'll give it a couple of extra stars for content, the Web site and the fact it is written for children. But after shelling out $250 for the kit and another $20 for the book, be warned: The spending won't stop there. (Not to mention the hours you'll spend tracking everything down.)
It is hard to get the walking animals legs in alignment. I tried for 20 minutes to get the alligator to walk and it just would not work, but maybe that is because I built it wrong.
I admit, the animals are pretty cool. My favorites are the spider and the elephant.
Over all you should only get this book if you have the parts and you have some experience with the NXT.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The diagrams are printed in black and white. My students complained about this book saying that it was too difficult for them to tell which pieces were to be used. Read morePublished 14 months ago by SUNNY
This book looks to have great projects in it but they can only be build if you have a LOT of additional NXT and Technics parts. Read morePublished on December 31, 2012 by Amazon Customer
If you buy this book, make sure you have the Educational NXT set PLUS the Educational Resource set. It is not for the regular Mindstorms NXT set that a consumer would most likely... Read morePublished on April 5, 2010 by jerry924
Not everyone who wants to build a robot wants it to go fast! Some teachers/students want to teach/learn about building, programming, collaboration and teamwork without being part... Read morePublished on April 14, 2009 by Karen
I have had this book for a while, and I am still taken by the inventiveness and, for lack of a better term, FUN of the designs. Read morePublished on April 14, 2009 by Andrew N. Winson
The robot designs in the book are fun, but I was quite disappointed to see that they require purchasing additional parts than are available in a normal Mindstorms NXT set. Read morePublished on April 12, 2009 by Amazon Customer
Unfortunatly, this book requires way to many parts my kids don't have (and they have a LOT of legos, 3X anyone I know). Read morePublished on April 5, 2009 by Dave A.
I am a little frustrated by some of the previous reviews as they really have nothing to do with the quality of this book. Read morePublished on February 23, 2009 by Tami Redus
Warning: These robots require many parts beyond the retail lego mindstorms nxt kit. For example, half of the robot animals are walking robots--camel, spider, dinosaur,... Read morePublished on February 23, 2009 by G. Clairmont