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O'Reilly

O'Reilly Press Room

  October 25, 1999
It's Programmable Cat Toys...It's Cubical Pets for Computer Nerds...No, it's The Unofficial Guide to LEGO® MINDSTORMS™ Robots
SEBASTOPOL, CA--Legos Mindstorms Robotics Invention Kits may turn out to be the hottest geek gadget of this year's gift-giving season. Unfortunately, the documentation that goes along with the kit doesn't take its many fans far enough. Forbes Magazine even reported recently that dedicated Legos robot programmers had "open-sourced" code designed to run the robots and posted it free on the Web. Jonathan Knudson's upcoming book, The Unofficial Guide to LEGO® MINDSTORMS™ Robots shows geek-gadget buyers everywhere how to get the most out of their LEGO® MINDSTORMS™ Robotics Invention Kit.

"LEGO robots go way beyond being cool toys. Combine a bunch of LEGO bricks, a standard robot brain, a talented and highly motivated online community, and your own imagination, and you've got an advanced tool for learning and teaching about robot design and programming," says Knudsen. "Best of all, it's a lot of fun."

Based on hands-on robot projects, the book includes descriptions of advanced mechanical techniques, programming with third-party software, building your own sensors, working with more than one kit, and sources of extra parts. The Unofficial Guide to LEGO® MINDSTORMS™ Robots goes far beyond what you'll find in the official documentation to enable you to build and program whatever you can imagine.

The Unofficial Guide to LEGO® MINDSTORMS™ Robots includes:

  • Hands-on robot projects, with complete building instructions and programs. Different aspects of these projects are used to explore fundamental issues of mobile robot design.

  • A chapter on NQC, a popular programming environment for RIS. You'll learn how NQC fits into the RIS software architecture, as well as how to write programs using NQC's C-like syntax. Includes copious examples.

  • A chapter on legOS, an alternate operating system for the RCX. legOS provides very low-level access to the resources of the RCX, enabling complex robot programming. This chapter describes legOS' structure and includes useful sample programs.

  • A chapter on pbForth, another powerful option for RCX robot programming. The chapter includes sample programs in Forth.

  • A chapter about building your own sensors. Making your own sensors is economical and educational. This chapter describes how to build several different sensors that will work with the RIS kit.
The book includes numerous illustrations and code examples. Many URLs are listed to serve as an introduction to the thriving online MINDSTORMS™ community.

Online Resources:

The Unofficial Guide to LEGO® MINDSTORMS™ Robots
By Jonathan B. Knudsen
1st Edition, October 1999 (US)
ISBN: 1-56592-692-7, 250 pages, $24.95
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