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LEGO Mindstorms Masterpieces - Building and Programming Advanced Robots

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LEGO Mindstorms Masterpieces Building and Programming Advanced Robots

Author: Ralph Hempel, Mario Ferrari | Publisher: Syngress | Date: 2003-05-19 | Format: pdf | Pages: 570 | Language: English | ISBN10: 1931836752

When Building Robots with LEGO MINDSTORMS was finished I felt very satisfied, but completely exhausted. I had been working on the book three to four hours a day — every day — for more than five months, dedicating to it all of my spare time and stealing some additional time from my job and my family. My most recurring thought was: “This has been an incredible opportunity, I’m so glad I did it” immediately followed by “but I’ll never do it again”.The months that followed were incredibly exciting. Although the memory of the hard work was still fresh in my mind, it was more than compensated for by the incredible reception that the book received from MINDSTORMS fans. In term of sales — of course — but also in terms of the flattering reviews and very positive comments that many readers expressed directly to me by e-mail. When Syngress offered me the opportunity to write a second book, I had mixed feelings. On the one hand, I was so proud of the welcome the first book had received that I was tempted to accept; on the other hand, I really didn’t feel ready to repeat the effort required to write the first book. More importantly, I didn’t want to write a book just to write another book, with nothing special in it. Building Robots with LEGO MINDSTORMS filled a gap in the technical literature about LEGO robotics that had been empty, but the number of books devoted to the LEGO MINDSTORMS system was already rather high before its publication, and many other good titles have been released on the topic since then. Discussing ideas and possibilities with the Syngress staff, the concept for a new book slowly began to evolve. Building Robots with LEGO MINDSTORMS explains scores of techniques about designing and building robots, describing about thirty complete projects and offers suggestions for many others. However, it contains no explanation of these projects with the level of detail to where everybody can reproduce a specific robot, following step-by-step instructions.This fact has been pointed xvii out by some readers, who said they would have appreciated a book describing challenging projects, each looked at in great detail.
Actually, the shelves of many bookshops offer many excellent books containing step-by-step instructions for building LEGO MINDSTORMS robots. Nevertheless, if you look carefully you will discover that some of these books are aimed at introducing the reader to the basics of the MINDSTORMS world, therefore describing only very simple robots. On the other hand, there exists a second group of books that show step-by-step instructions, but lack substantially detailed explanations about the building techniques used by the authors and the general concepts that are fundamental to the projects. These reflections are the foundation of LEGO MINDSTORMS Masterpieces, whose goal is presenting some very sophisticated projects with the maximum level of detail. In the book you hold in your hands you will find not only high quality stepby- step instructions for building all of the robots, but also a complete description for each of them, including goals, building techniques, programming techniques, and the theory supporting the designer’s choices.
In my opinion what makes LEGO MINDSTORMS Masterpieces really special is the fact that it is not the work of a single person, but rather the result of the cooperation of a team of authors.The fact is that any designer tends to adopt his or her own building “cliches”, a collection of standard solutions to common problems that they use again and again to save design time.This isn’t laziness, but rather the normal behavior of the human mind.When faced with a new problem, the first solutions that come to mind are solutions that have already been successful in similar (but perhaps not identical) cases. Additionally, every designer has their own personal style, a set of unexpressed rules that guide building choices toward something that the designer prefers to use, even if another solution exists that would work equally as well or better. For these reasons different creations built by the same person typically show many similarities; a sort of common background that results in what can be thought of as a “family resemblance” among their designs.
The MINDSTORMS Masters that wrote this book brought to it a wide variety of ideas and a wealth of strategies that a single author could simply never hope to offer.This diversity is exactly what we are offering in this book, which we called — with a bit of immodesty — LEGO MINDSTORMS Masterpieces.Whether these creations could be considered real masterpieces is not for me to say, but what I am sure of is that we devoted a considerable amount of time to choosing and presenting projects that push the possibilities of the MINDSTORMS RIS system towards its limits, www.syngress.




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