LEGO Mindstorms NXT Orange Book
A few weeks ago I posted about Yoshihito Isogawa-san's new book, the LEGO Mindstorms NXT Orange Book. I managed to find a reliable source to order a copy (more on this later) and my copy just arrived. It's a Japanese book, so much of the writing is incomprehensible to me, but the pictures and diagrams are outstanding!
First, some details. The book is almost 130 pages, all in full-color. Building instructions are color photos, but the photos are easy to follow and duplicate. As for the programming instructions, although I cannot read Hirigana/Kanji, the screenshots of the configuration panels for each block are sufficient to determine proper settings. (Plus it's just so cool to see the Japanese version of the software being used...)
The book is broken into sections, with the first 30-40 pages dedicated to the sensors and the software and the Brick... but after that, the book has some incredible construction ideas. Like many of you, I'm one of those who say "I can't believe I didn't think of that!" - well, this book is FULL of ingenious little assemblies that do some amazing things. All I can tell you is that if you're looking to expand your building skills using the NXT, get your hands on a copy of this book... some of the concepts are so simple that you'll shake your head wishing you had thought of some of this stuff.
As for the robots you'll build - there are so many in here, I'm not sure where to start. You get a robot with eyebrows, lips, eyes, and an arm... plenty of room to expand this one and play with the programming side of it. I would have to say that GEARS are heavily covered, with plenty of examples using all the included gears (worm, too). There's an interesting section on how the author simulates shock absorbers using rubber bands that was great. You'll see an interesting idea on how to enclose the Light sensor as well as numerous examples on making the Touch sensor more flexible and useful (there are about 5 or so different small assemblies the author provides that give you some nice jumping off points for using the Touch sensor with your robots).
Now, as for getting a copy... I ordered my copy via www.yesasia.com - it took two weeks from my order placement to receiving the book, but your time may vary because of the way yesasia.com ships (it's sort of bundled approach to save shipping costs). I spent a total of $29.75 (that includes shipping) to get a copy shipped to Atlanta, GA USA... again, your cost might vary.
I'll just have to remember to give credit to Yoshihito Isogawa-san if I use any of his assemblies with my own bots. This is definitely one of the best non-LEGO-component investments I've made for my NXT kit and it's given me some new ideas for future bots.