Saturday, August 30, 2014

TBs TechReview 38 - EV3 Discovery Book

The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book
By Laurens Valk
Publisher: No Starch Press

This is the book I brought into my holidays to fill the resting periods.

It is a new MINDSTORMS book from Laurens Valk which succeeds his previous work with "NXT Discovery Book". Laurens is also a MINDSTORMS Community Partner (MCP) and author of Robot Square blog, who has a proven experience building robots with the LMS platform.

You will find this a very detailed and comprehensive book with a rich color graphics and clean design, which goes much beyond a set of instructions to build a few robots.

This books assumes no previous experience with either building or programming with LEGO MINDSTORMS. It starts with simple ideas and explanations about the EV3 brick connectivity and operation as well as its built-in interface navigation.

But soon it evolves into basic and more advanced programing concepts like single and multitasking, or the execution of simple but not trivial tasks like making your bot following a line. All this is complemented with further explanations on how these work and how to achieve these with LMS EV3 IDE.

But there is much to take in consideration to build robots that are not just functional but also stable and sturdy to navigate across our uneven world.
Because of this it is also important to understand the building system behind the LMS which is fully based on LEGO Technic elements. Hence there are full sections dedicated to help you master useful building techniques and providing hints with several solutions to build sturdy drivetrains.

While this book guides you to build some new robots with one 31313 kit, it also provides plenty of detailed technical explanations on the mechanical principles required to build these along with some challenges that help you really understand the concepts convered. Some examples like gear ratio calculations, predicting compound directions and gear ratios from certain drive trains, or understanding the movement associated with multi-bar linkages are examples we can see from the sample pages below.

And all these with the objective of building cool and simple or more complex robots, like those in the examples below and many more.

Here a list of robots you can build with the assistance of "EV3 Discovery Book".
  • EXPLOR3R, a wheeled vehicle that uses sensors to navigate around a room and follow lines.
  • FORMULA EV3 RACE CAR, a streamlined remote-controlled race car.
  • ANTY, a six-legged walking creature that adapts its behavior to its surroundings.
  • SK3TCHBOT, a robot that lets you play games on the EV3 screen.
  • The SNATCH3R, a robotic arm that can autonomously find, grab, lift, and move the infrared beacon.
  • LAVA R3X, a humanoid robot that walks and talks.

After all this is a book that could be very useful for those initiating into LEGO robotics, but also quite interesting and capable to develop further knowledge to those with already some experience into this field.

Find it at:
No Stark Press (here you can also download a few sample chapter for a deeper preview)

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