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The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 Discovery Book: A Beginner's Guide to Building and Programming Robots Paperback – May 13 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (May 13 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593272111
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593272111
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 2 x 25.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 762 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #170,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Laurens Valk is a member of the MINDSTORMS Community Partners who help test and develop new NXT products. He has been inventing robots with the MINDSTORMS NXT sets since their introduction, and one of his robot designs appears on the NXT 2.0 packaging. Valk is a co-author of LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT One-Kit Wonders (No Starch Press) and a contributor to The NXT Step Blog (thenxtstep.blogspot.com). He lives in the Netherlands where he teaches robotics.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have purchased a Lego Mindstorms NXT2.0 set. The instructions included with the set were insufficient for me to program the robot. This book explains it all, step by step. Plenty of small exercices allow the reader to gain confidence in his programming skills. Excellent book.
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Format: Paperback
This book is exactly what I was looking for.
My daughter (11 years old) and I are enjoying learning about NXT
The simple and useful examples and small projects after-Each new concept makes funny and easy to learn.
I am teaching to my daughter the self learning and this book help me to do it, my role is just tutor and answer questions from my daughter.
I am a software architect and I am also learning about NXT, I recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is awesome! I don't have NXT 2.0 but this will work for all versions except EV3. It has neat robots in it. It has a few robots but it has a lot of programming information. There are also good ideas for building your own robots.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent book that was easy to read with accompanying pictures that help children (and adults) to follow the instructions sequentially!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 113 reviews
144 of 146 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take the NXT Step May 27 2010
By Richard P. Murnane - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I (a hardware/software developer and radio ham for some 30 years) bought LEGO Mindstorms for my now eight-year-old son last Christmas. Being a LEGO nut since he was old enough not to swallow the pieces, he's had great fun with Mindstorms since then.

But after you've built the models detailed in the Mindstorms kit, where do you go next? The Mindstorms online help is pretty good, but tiresome to read on the screen, and not the best medium for a youngster. The Alpha Rex etc. are impressive but it's hard for a child to try to make his own models of a similar complexity on the basis of the models in the Mindstorms kit. There is a huge gap between copying ready-made models and learning to create real robots from scratch, and Laurens Valk's book fills that gap perfectly.

As "the missing manual", this book thoroughly explains the NXT hardware and NXT-G software, in enough technical detail to satisfy a seasoned programmer like me, but without overloading someone who is completely new to the technology. That is no mean feat!

The building instructions are of a similar quality to those provided in the all-too-slim Mindstorms manual, and my son was able to follow them and the programming instructions with only minimal guidance from me (usually because we hadn't yet read the accompanying text! :-)

Now, there are several ways to approach this book. To get started quickly, you or your child genius can simply follow the detailed building and programming instructions to create any of the eight robots detailed in the book. My son had almost no trouble doing this: in fact, he first went after the more complex models like the Strider featured on the cover, followed by the very impressive Chimney Climber. If, like us, you're new to the LEGO Technic and Mindstorms systems, you'll be surprised how they can be made to do such remarkable things.

The program instructions feature a simplified overview - essentially a flow diagram - that lets you follow the basic structure of the program and learn about loops, "if-then-else" blocks, etc. Your young robotics engineer can learn about the how-and-why of the programs, and gradually improvise to deepen his/her understanding of what the NXT controller is "thinking", and then devise clever ways to change it.

Then there are the challenges, or "discoveries" to use Laurens' word: 87 of them in all. Once we have settled down to reading the book together start-to-finish (give us a chance, we've only had this book for a week!), the discoveries will provide many new paths to explore and consolidate our understanding of robotic systems.

I would have expected to pay three times what Amazon is charging for this book, based on similar books aimed at software developers. At under $20, it is excellent value for money and an essential "NXT" step on any robot designer's path of discovery. Buy it!
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars June 6 2016
By R. Serna - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tremendous NXT Teaching Accomplishment By A Young Roboticist June 30 2010
By Ira Laefsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
From his infectious enthusiasm for the Mindstorms NXT System it might be easy to guess that Laurens Valk was introduced to Lego Robotics at age 13 just five short years ago. But, from the careful logical pedagogy of this book and his interesting approach mixing successively more advanced robots intermixed with a clearly arranged taxonomy of parts, programming tools and motor/drive train and sensor categorization, I would have imagined that this book was written by an excellent teacher with many years of experience bringing engineering concepts to youthful learners. Not only does the book offer a clear top-down beginning to end approach to both the NXT Parts Architecture and NXT-G Programming Language while combining this end-to-end approach with interesting projects of increasing difficulty, but he stimulates the reader with building and programming challenges to increase their skill at independent thought in robot building and programming. Just how far and how thoughtfully Laurens' teaching approach goes is indicated by by his unique system of flowcharting/state diagrams which both provides the logical decisions involved in programming this system with a graphical correspondence to the NXT-G Programming language.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough as an aid to using the Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 robotics system, and bringing a
new generation of roboticists and engineers to a deep and intuitive understanding these sciences. This handbook should be included in every Mindstorms NXT Set to insure that the recipient will learn, absorb and extend the concepts which this powerful educational system can teach.

--Ira Laefsky
MSE/MBA I.T. Consultant and Former Senior Staff Member Arthur D. Little, Inc. and Digital Equipment Corporation
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Are you ready for a journey of discovery? May 10 2010
By Xander Soldaat - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is the culmination of more than a year's work and it shows. It's broken up into 4 parts and will guide you through a journey of discovery. On your route to becoming a robotics master you will build no less than 8 different robots and learn about every aspect of NXT-G programming with the help of 50 sample programs. If that's not enough, you can test just how good you've become with any one of the 85 building and programming challenges.

The building and programming instructions are really nice, clear and clean; it's not hard to tell the author has done this before. Learning to program and build with your new NXT 2.0 kit will be so much more fun with this book by your side. It will knock your socks off (don't worry, there's a robot in the book that can help you pick them up again).
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the book I needed a year ago! May 17 2010
By Claire Horncastle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My eight year old son was invited to go to an FLL demonstration last August, he loved it so I enquired about the nearest team for him to join. It turned out to be me and I ended up coaching not one but two of the 23 teams entered in New Zealand's first ever FLL tournament! I knew absolutely nothing about NXT so had a VERY steep learning curve. The Help on the NXT software is great - if you know what you are looking for. I struggled for 4 months to upskill myself enough to help the kids answer their questions. I must have been partially successful in that one of my teams won the NZ competition and qualified for Atlanta. Atlanta was awesome but only made me realise how little I know and how much more I have got to learn. My team is determined to get to St Louis next year and this marvellous book will help us on the way.
This book doesn't assume you know anything about NXT but also takes you far beyond what my team needed to know to get to Atlanta. It is not just a beginner's guide.
If you are totally new to NXT or self-taught like me then this is the book for you. I got it two days ago and have already read through it once. My 9 year old son is also reading it and keeps saying "Did you know....."
A must have for anyone who is new to NXT or knows a bit and is wanting to move beyond basic programming.
When is the next book coming out Laurens?