Jan 22, 2011

New Book - Winning Design!


A good friend of mine, James Trobaugh, from the Atlanta area just had his first book published... an NXT book! It's called "Winning Design! LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Design Patterns for Fun and Competition." I've completed reading the book and I'd like to share my review (also posted on Amazon.com) of the book below...

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I've participated in many FLL tournaments as a technical judge, and I've seen many good robot designs hampered by a lack of understanding of some basic design principles. I've now completed reading the book and I'm quite impressed with the author's decision to break the book into four sections, each focusing on a particular skill (or skills) and providing plenty of real world examples of HOW and WHY things are done... or should be done.

The book is HEAVY on figures... and that's a good thing. Many of the concepts that the author writes about simply cannot be understood well without some hands-on explanations. That's why teams will be pleased to see diagrams and examples using real NXT parts to explain concepts such as turning, squaring up along a wall, and line following. And he didn't leave out some great discussion on attachments - one of the most important concepts for teams who wish to successfully accomplish multiple game table elements.

Finally, the author provides some tips and suggestions for managing your programs as well as presenting them (and the robot) to the technical judging team. And you'll also find complete building instructions for the DemoBot... a real robot that the author uses to demonstrate techniques throughout the book... build it and THEN read the book!

All in all, I'm very pleased with the book - I think new/rookie FLL teams will receive the most benefit from the book, but experienced teams are sure to find some stuff in here that will improve their scores and successes.

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James put a LOT of time and effort into this book... and it shows. Much of the material in this book comes directly from his experiences with FLL over the years, including his many roles in the FLL competition every year. Congrats, James!

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