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  • Lego mindstorms nxt books

    Books on LEGO Mindstorms NXT, "WHERE DOES ONE BEGIN?".

    I'd like to pick-up a few books for the robotics program at my teams school but which ones, by which author(s), which ones are well written and easier to understand, etc?? I was going to list out all of the authors that have books on the subject until I realized that there weren't just 6-8 authors, there's actually 30+ and I stopped counting after a while.

    Now I understand that there's books on Programming (e.g. NXT-G, RobotC, LabView), Strategies, Building Robots for fun, and more and more so what would consider "MUST HAVE" books for someone who coaches FLL teams and wants to help improve themselves and the students? I think it narrows it down somewhat to Programming in NXT-G but which 1-2 books are the best and Robot Building techniques but which 1-2 books are the best in this area? Are there any other areas that are covered by all these books that are good to have?

    So, if I were to build up a small section in the school's library for LEGO Mindstorms NXT books what would you recommend starting out with?

    Sorry to ramble on but thanks for any input you may have.
    Phil Martin

  • #2
    Re: Lego mindstorms nxt books

    Originally posted by philipdmartin View Post
    So, if I were to build up a small section in the school's library for LEGO Mindstorms NXT books what would you recommend starting out with?
    The programming section of most of the books I've seen just have a survey of the available blocks with a brief discussion of what they do. I've usually found the help pages that come with NXT-G to be more helpful, although they're far from perfect. Even better, though, are the examples in the Educational version of NXT-G. Everything you need to know about basic programming & task-oriented construction. One of my 5th graders taught himself line following, use of rotation sensors, and how to create & use My blocks from that. Unfortunately this isn't in the commercial version of NXT-G.

    Getting some of the other books to have projects to build can be fun, but I've found they're more like regular Lego kits -- you build one thing. You can find a lot of projects on the web (including on Lego's site) that are just as good. Of course, that goes for programming too.

    Having said that, I'm a big fan of books, so I will give you a recommendation. There are a lot of good books out there, and a number of them are in our team's library. I like one in particular -- http://www.amazon.com/Winning-Design...2514445&sr=1-1 It has a good overview of programming with some decent examples. It also talks about design & construction concepts as opposed to giving projects to build. While the latter is useful, I don't think you get as much useful, transferrable, knowledge as you do with a more general discussion.

    If you only buy one book you can spend more money on robots & Lego parts.
    Kansas City Region Head Ref 2014-present
    KC Region coaches and teams can ask FLL robot game rules questions at [email protected]

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    • #3
      Re: Lego mindstorms nxt books

      I'll second the recommendation for "Winning Design!: LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Design Patterns for Fun and Competition". Excellent book. It specifically discusses useful techniques for FLL. I obtained a copy this past winter, and when I paged through it with my son, he immediately recognized several of the programming examples as being similar to things we had done the previous season. It was nice to see someone document many useful FLL patterns in one place for easy reference.

      We also have several books by Yoshihito Isogawa. He is a Lego building genius. His books give examples of building many wonderful contraptions. His books used to only come in Japanese, but there are now English translations. The books are mainly pictures, so actual language is not extremely important, but it is useful to have the titles and table of contents in English. Look for books such as "The LEGO Technic Idea Book: Simple Machines".

      I have version 1 of "The Unofficial LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Inventor's Guide". It was very good, and there is an updated version 2 available.

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      • #4
        Re: Lego mindstorms nxt books

        Originally posted by timdavid View Post
        We also have several books by Yoshihito Isogawa. He is a Lego building genius. His books give examples of building many wonderful contraptions. Look for books such as "The LEGO Technic Idea Book: Simple Machines".
        In turn I will second your nomination of the Isogawa series. To which I will add that it is very useful to make the devices from your Lego parts. It is time and parts well spent to have the 3-D working machinery on hand. You can even take them over to your accessory attachments in progress to see how they might be incorporated there.
        Bill Bourn
        Coach, FLL#91 F L eLements
        Mentor, FRC#2170 Titanium Tomahawks

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        • #5
          Re: Lego mindstorms nxt books

          I obtained a copy of "The Cult of LEGO" this holiday season, and I recommend it to LEGO fans of all ages.

          While it only has a few pages about Mindstorms NXT and FLL, it does offer the interesting tidbit of information that Mindstorms is the all-time best-selling LEGO product, with over 1 million kits sold. LEGO is evidently doing very well selling Mindstorms kits to more than just FLL teams.

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          • #6
            Re: Lego mindstorms nxt books

            I have an interactive book on the iBookstore called FLL Handbook that will be published within the next few days and explains the basic of programming robots and of building them. It also explains strategy and has all the official FLL rules, missions, updates and field setup directions.

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            • #7
              Re: Lego mindstorms nxt books

              When I started I had a lot of trouble with the programming. For me this was much harder to deal with than building the robots. I found "The Art of LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT-G Programming" to be a huge help. All the important things were covered in enough detail for me to figure out how things work, with really useful examples. As the title suggests, the book is all about programming and goes into more detail, and with clearer explanations, than the other books I've used.

              Not a book, but the robots and programs at www.nxtprograms.com are also good examples.

              DJ

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              • #8
                Re: Lego mindstorms nxt books

                I've had good results from Educate NXT by Chris Bracken.

                The book is geared towards a teaching environment, and contains worksheets and lessons which are very handy.l I've found it a very useful teaching guide for both basic and advanced students.

                I second www.nxtprograms.com as an excellent resource!

                TeamLeader

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                • #9
                  Re: Lego mindstorms nxt books

                  The "One Kit Wonders" book has a nice collection of robots that show some of the different things you can do with Mindstorms.

                  Fay Rhodes's "Zoo" books have some really fun concepts and appeal especially to younger students. The robots and programming tend to be less complicated than some other books.

                  For a "must have" programming book, I second the earlier posters suggestion of Terry Griffin's NXT-G Programming book. This was how I was able to finally use data wires without pulling my hair out.

                  Good luck

                  Henry

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                  • #10
                    Re: Lego mindstorms nxt books

                    I have written an interactive iBook which gathers all the rules, missions, field setup, and updates into one place, as well as explains many building an programming techniques. It is available on the iTunes Store at this link:

                    https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/fll...552195751?ls=1

                    Please help me support my FTC team by buying it.

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