Nov 28, 2006

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.

10 comments:

Andy said...
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Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this. I'm a rookie coach for FLL and looking for resources for myself and the kids to go through in the off season. Lived in Japan for awhile so I'm looking forward to brushing up on my Japanese and combining it with my newfound hobby, Mindstorms NXT. I just ordered my own copy! Can't wait for it to arrive!

Anonymous said...

Is this book in written English ? On the yesasia site it's not stated clearly. At the end of the day pictures do not require any language, but...

Jim Kelly said...

No, it is not written in English. The chapter titles do have English translations as well as the names of the different robots, but the rest of the text is non-English. But as you say, the pictures are really enough and I spent an hour yesterday playing around with some of the assemblies and learned a few things that will benefit my future bots...

Jim

Jon of NH said...

Great resource! Thanks. I'm hoping for a copy for christmas.

Is there a list of recommended books that have great building techniques? I have Ferrari, Ferrari and Hemple. And a few "10 robots that..." books. Any other ones that are must-haves?

Jim Kelly said...

Hopefully some readers will give you some book ideas... as far as I know, this is the only NXT book out so far, so other books will be RCX-based.

Jim

Anonymous said...

I ordered one from Amazon.jp (I chose the "English"version) with a credit card and asked for "fast" shipping: it arrived 2 days later! 5,300 Yen all inclusive. Well worth it!

Jon of NH said...

Actually, I'm looking for a list of books with the best BUILDING techniques. So the old RCX books are not so bad. Of course, we now have to jigger in the new motor and sensor configurations.

Eric D. Burdo said...

There is an English Table of Contents found here:

http://www.isogawastudio.co.jp/legostudio/bookcontentsenglish.html

I still haven't seen any English translations yet.

Anonymous said...

I ordered "LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT-G Programming Guide" by Kelly yesterday from Amazon.com and it's on it's way. So there is another NXT book out.

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