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Robot Building for Beginners, 2nd Edition (Technology in Action) 2nd Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Being strong on the theory, I didn't learn anything in that regard. On the flip side, David Cook described the basics in a way that anyone could understand. What I really wanted to learn was to be able to put my Christmas presents to use. He spent a chapter just on the multimeter! I loved it. Also, every part of the robot was described in detail. I now know the difference between choosing motors, batteries, transistors, comparitors, diodes, potentiometers, photo-resistors, ect.
When I brought my first creation into my Electromagnetics class yesterday, I of course was asked to give a demonstration. From reading this book (to be honest a total of 3 times), I described everything about it in clear/consise detail. The only part I failed was receiving extra credit. Yes I did try :D.
I couldn't imagine a better book for beginners. There is a website that describes the robot AND the few typos caught (nothing that mattered), ways he took this idea and added a couple more in a similar project, as well as detailing the post construction of robots he's made since then. Cook goes into detail for troubleshooting a potential screw up you may make (If 'X' is happening then you probably did 'Y'). Yes I made one too--thanks for asking.
There is one part I didn't like about the project though--using an M&M's Mini tube to hold the motors. Being so close to Valentine's day, the only selection they had were PINK ones! Oh well, I named in Valentino anyway. I did find myself telling this story though to everyone that commented on my pink robot.
If you want to get into the hobby, buy this book. You can't ask for more. Just be prepared to catch yourself looking in the toy section of Target for lego technic tires when your fiance is wanting to register!!! BTW: you'll also catch yourself babbling on about your experiences in a review about this book too--cause you'll be so D@MN excited about making your first robot!!!
I studied philosophy in college, so can offer my son no help in building robots. I've seen this book described as a swimming pool that's 5'x5' but 25' deep. That's pretty apt. I like the extensive chapter on components - what they are, how they work - neither my son nor I knew a resistor from a diode before. Also an entire chapter on safety was great from the concerned parent perspective.
The book is long, but covers a lot of ground with very little fluff. In 10 days my son had read up to the chapter where you start building your robot - he had absorbed a ton of information, built a few basic circuits and tested/troubleshot them with a multimeter. Now he's just waiting impatiently for me to set him up with the necessary components to start building (actually he's started scavenging components from dead/unused electronics he comes across; and I'm starting to fear for my DVD player).
I don't think you'll find a better starting point for a novice.
For most of the book, you get a sense that the author simply looked through an electronics catalog, selected some key parts, and wrote a brief discription of what kinds there are, and what they do. Along the way, he shows how you can use those parts to make a simple robot.
This would be a good book to accompany another more applications-based book (or online site) on electronics (e.g. Radio Shack's Forrest Mimms Enginner's Notebooks, Practical Electronics for Inventors, etc.).
In terms of robotics, unforunately, you get one simple example and that's it. Very frustrating for those who want to make something more than a simple sandwhich box that follows a line. (It's a clever little design, nevertheless).
With all bad things said, I do think the book has positives. It has many helpful hints for selecting parts, tips for prototyping, and is writen in a friendly, easy-to-read style.
For those who know nothing at all about electronics and aren't too interested in robots, but more interested in basic electronics--5 stars. For those who have more than rudimentary knowledge of electronics and looking for a variety of robots projects--1 star.