Dec 13, 2006

The NXT Step Book

All of us contributors have been working for the last several weeks on a special project - a joint book about Lego Mindstorms NXT! This book will be published by No Starch Press, contain building and programming instructions for nine robots, and have additional theory chapters.

By the way, the cover and title (pictured) aren't official yet, and may be subject to change.

-Jonathan

13 comments:

Maniac said...

Wow you guys, I'm totally impressed. And to think that this has gone on for a few weeks without us knowing. You'll get no rest now you realize, we want more! Tell us more, what bots will be featured, what languages will be covered (anything about third party languages in those "additional theory chapters", or is this mostly a hardware book?)

Jonathan, way cool, still in FLL and soon to be a published author. Very cool:-)

Brian Davis said...

Well, which do you want... us to tell you about what we intend to put in the book, or for us to actually, you know, *write* the book, so you can eventually get it? ;-).

--
Brian Davis

Jim Kelly said...

I'm writing a chapter on my famous (infamous) Bacon Sensor... the demand for information has just overwhelmed me, so I've decided to go public...

On a serious note, I'm pretty happy to be contributing to a book with these 12 folks (Fay Rhodes is Rick's wife and no slouch when it comes to NXT design and programming - plus she designed the working cover you see). The book will automatically have an international appeal since 4 of our number are NOT from the USA! And, yes, we're pretty happy about our young contributor, Jonathan.

Maniac said...

Brian

Well, as Ii mentioned, some information about the different third party languages. I've seen lots of info the individual languages, but no comparison between them. If any of the authors where to simply draw a diagram, or do an excel spread sheet that compared the different languages, their strengths and weaknesses, what age level they work for or what type of programing environment they would best be used in. that kind of thing.

Tony Naggs said...

Hi Maniac

I think a comparison of the programming languages and environments is a good idea.

However I am not sure how much detail we can, or should, include in this book. It is quite hard to do the subject justice, as many of the projects are very young and they are updating features quite quickly. This is likely to be the case for a while yet: the firmware source has just been released and the ability to modify this is going to give a big boost to some of the projects.

I think it is too early to write much about them in a book. Especially as the book may still be in print in 5 years time.

I hope to have time to experiment with some of the programming environments in the next month or so. I will certainly be reporting back to The NXT Step on what I learn.

ttfn,
Tony N

Matthias Paul Scholz said...

Hi Maniac,

Maybe discussion of some of the existing programming environments will go beyond the scope of this very book.
Yet, the other book of mine to see light in spring (I've announced it some days ago) will include samples on programming a handful of robots with five or six different environments each, thus illustrating advantages and drawbacks of them.

/Matthias

Jon of NH said...

This book sounds very exciting.
One section that would be very interesting is an analysis of the best FLL robots that you've seen in action, and how the teams put the robot together and programmed it. That would be pretty cool. I love reviewing videos of FLL teams robots and figuring out how they got things to work.

Redoing the basic work that Ferrari et al have done in Building Robots with Lego Mindstorms, except with the new sensors, the new motor and NXT, and with a lot more lift arms, would be very cool. I'm currently working on adapting ULK for the NXT--similar work could be done for other instructive robots.

I think that you are right not to put in too much information that will change quickly. There is so much info on the web, and it competes with books. Your book should be a long term, well written, definitive guide to Lego NXT.

Anonymous said...

this is vair vair cool when will it be released. I am desprate as i only got building instructions that 2 wheeled thing.

Jay Mackey said...

Is there a graphics person on your team? Would he or you be interested in some help? I'm a controls engineer that designs and programs custom robotic workcells for factory production lines, and my main hobby is 3D and 2D graphics. In addition to design and programming the systems my company produces, I do the sales proposal concept design, using 3D apps to produce presentation graphics of what my company proposes to build. My secondary hobby is Mindstorm and Technics legos. I have both the RIS1.0 and the new NXT.

Jim Kelly said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jim Kelly said...

Jay,

We appreciate the offer, but we actually have a handful of the team working on the CAD instructions. Thank you for asking, though...

If you're good with 3D development, you might want to consider creating your own instructional material, either for a book or for digital download for other readers. CAD instructions are popular and you'll find a fan base if you can put out some good material.

Jim

Anonymous said...

Hey i'm new to robotics its always been somthing that intrest me so i thought that the nxt would ba good way to get started i was just wondering if this book will b good for beginners or if its out of my league

Jim Kelly said...

It will have a variety of different projects, from easy to moderate, but I do not believe there will be anything in it beyond a beginner's ability - all building and programming instructions will be included, so if you follow along with the book, you shouldn't have a problem. Thanks!

Jim

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