Aug 30, 2007

NXT Gray Book review

I received the NXT "Gray Book" back in early August but somehow forgot to get around to posting a review.

The Gray Book (GB) is written by Shinichiro Oba and Takuya Matsubara and is 208 pages. Since it is written in Japanese, most of the book is out of my reach in terms of readability. What I have been able to figure out is that this book focuses 50% or more of its pagecount on software - and not just NXT-G.

There does appear to be code samples from C++ and the Wav2Rso, MLCad, LDView, and nxtRICedit applications also have coverage... but again, incomprehensible to me. It's unfortunate, because I also see chapters written on using multiple Light sensors, multiple Touch sensors, Bluetooth, and a chapter that has some trigonometric coverage.

Unlike the Orange Book (OB), the GB just doesn't have much in the way or robots or mechanisms to play with. What few robots are in the pages are simplistic versions of the Tribot. But...

There is one really nice robot at the end of the book called - Betarex. Obviously a play on AlphaRex, this robot uses 2 NXT bricks, 5 motors, and a handful of multiple sensor-types. Reverse-engineering this robot would probably take an entire weekend, but it does look good (see my photo of a page from the book). The program for Betarex is written in NBC and included in the book's last chapter. From what I can tell, this robot does appear to walk, probably faster than AlphaRex and maybe with less of a shuffle.

After going over the OB, GB, and the Black Book, I still believe the OB is the best of the 3. It has some of the best (full color) images and samples of mechanisms and robots and most, if not all, would be easy to reproduce from the photographs. Not so with the GB and BB.

1 comment:

BlueToothKiwi said...

It is so hard to review a book when it is in a different language - but thanks, Jim.

As for the twin chested BetaRex.... with two NXT's, plus batteries, 5 motors, it must be incredibly heavy. I guess the two motors on the legs would make its centre of gravity lower and more stable.

Looking at the two turn tables at the leg joints and the gears, it looks like it is the type that rocks from side to side while twisting the leg to nudge forward. It is also interesting how they have a touch sensor on the feet to stop sideways tilt of the body when the feet has sufficient clearance to move.

I love to build a robot like this - it looks mean and big.


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