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The Unofficial LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Inventor's Guide 1st Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1593271541
ISBN-10: 1593271549
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT set includes a variety of powerful electronic parts (motors, sensors, and the programmable NXT microcomputer) and lots of building elements. With these parts you can create thousands of unique, intelligent robots. The Unofficial LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Inventor's Guide helps you to harness the capabilities of the NXT set and effectively plan, build, and program your own NXT robots.

The first part of the book contains a brief introduction to the NXT set. You'll then examine the pieces in the NXT set and the roles they play in construction. Next, you'll learn practical building techniques, like how to build sturdy structures and work with gears. Then it's time to learn how to program with the official NXT-G programming language (and learn a bit about several unofficial programming languages). You'll also learn what author David J. Perdue calls the MINDSTORMS method: a strategy for creating your own robots. Finally, you'll follow step-by-step instructions for building, programming, and testing six sample robots (all of which can be built using only the parts found in one NXT set). These six robots include:

  • Zippy-Bot, a two-wheeled vehicle with a ball caster
  • Bumper-Bot, a version of Zippy-Bot that explores your room and avoids objects
  • Claw-Bot, a version of Zippy-Bot that searches for objects and pushes them away with its claw
  • Tag-Bot, a four-wheeled steering vehicle that dashes around while you try to "tag" it with a flashlight
  • Guard-Bot, a six-legged walking robot that launches a ball at intruders
  • Golf-Bot, a stationary robot that finds a target and then hits a ball into the target
You'll also find an NXT-G Quick Reference, which provides information on the 30 types of standard programming blocks, and the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Piece Library, which features detailed information and images of the more than 80 types of LEGO pieces in the NXT set.

So go ahead. Grab your NXT set, fire up your creative mind, and see what you can invent with The Unofficial LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Inventor's Guide.

About the Author

David J. Perdue is the author of Competitive MINDSTORMS (Apress, 2004) and has written for BrickJournal. He has been inventing with MINDSTORMS since 2001 and has received three Special Mention awards for his creations on the official online MINDSTORMS invention gallery. He lives with his family in Round Rock, Texas, and maintains his website at http://www.davidjperdue.com.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (October 29, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593271549
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593271541
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,093,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a father with two boys who are both interested in science and technology, it seemed a natural choice to check out the LEGO Mindstorms NXT set when it came out. Stepper motors with integrated rotation sensors, sensors for ultrasound, touch, light, and sound, USB and Bluetooth connectivity... well, you get the point! When my boys saw the NXT, they were very excited about it. When the box arrived it was like Christmas and birthday combined!

We built the model in the book first. A fun start. Then we built the models included on the CD. Very nice! After that though, we were on our own. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but our skills could only take us so far!

Fortunately there's an abundance of books about Mindstorms. We're up to five books at this point, and I'm always looking for more. It's not just the models, but also the insight on mechanical design and the new ways of looking at the available pieces. Each book takes a different approach to introducing the models and creating excitement, but unfortunately not all are as effective as others.

The newest book that we have in our collection is The Unofficial LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Inventor's Guide, by David J. Perdue. The cover model grabbed me immediately with its interesting steering design. The book itself begins with some very good beginner-level information on the Mindstorms set. If you've only read the documentation included with the set, this is very useful. It includes information on the sensors and motors, the Lego beams and pieces, and the software. From there it moves into a great discussion of working with gears.
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Format: Paperback
The Unofficial Lego Mindstorms NXT Inventors Guide

Author: David J. Perdue
website: [...] ; [...]
Strengths: Very nice schematics, parts listings and visuals to highlight or the parts for the machines. Easily readable. Good for novice robot builders but also advanced users will find it helpful as well.

Weaknesses: The book has black/white text.


Rating: 5/5

reviewed by Dr. Eric Flescher, Olathe, KS: (dreric1kansas@aol.com)


I have been working with robot kits for many years. I started with the Fischertecknik robot turtle which I built and was able to use with the logo interface with my Apple IIE. Later on I heard about Lego Mindstorms and bought a set to use. It was tough going and after much delay because of the programming and the light issues with the brick, I was able to get legos finally working. Since then, I have worked with several kits and working with PC and Macintosh interfacing. But I was still looking for more a more helpful guides to build more interesting robots. I think I found one in The Unofficial Lego Mindstorms NXT Inventors Guide.

This author David J. Perdue knows his stuff and Lego Mindstorms. He has been creating MINDSTORMS since 2001 and just won the NXT Camera Bot Building Challenge competition and is the author of Competitive MINDSTORMS (Apress, 2004). He has received three Special Mention awards for his creations on the official online MINDSTORMS and is a full time student, pursuing a degree in Management information Systems in Texas. So I opened the book to see what else I could find out and how I could use the book for my LegoMindstorms in the future.

In the beginning, it was difficult to use Mindstorms.
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Format: Paperback
This book is excellent both for beginners and for more experienced Lego enthusiasts. Most of the book is written in step by step instructions that are beautifully illustrated with informative graphics. These images blend both the Lego modeling aspect of building robots and the visual programming side.

The best part of the book is in the robot recipes which is in the second half. There are six different models to choose from and you can use these easily as a base for more complex designs that suit your needs.

For more experienced readers the book covers different ways of hacking the NXT set. There is information on different compilers that you can use to program your creation. As well as a fantastic resources section at the end which is sure to satisfy your craving for more ways to use your NXT system.

This text is well written. The coverage is in-depth but provides a reasonable learning curve. I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback
I've had NXT for about 10 months and have three other books. I wish I had know about this first. My strong point is programming, my weak point is gearing and this is the only book that really shows how to build gear trains. I love rover bots and have designed many but he has several fresh takes on the genre. His ball caster is much more elegant than mine and his bumper is quite sturdy. (My method of picking a random angle for a turn is better than his though: random block set for 0 to 6 wired to a switch block with 7 conditions, the equivalent of 45,90,135 degrees left and right and 180. save the whole thing as a myblock to use with all your rovers.)
I highly recommend this book if you are starting out or if you want to get some new ideas for rovers.
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