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Linux Robotics: Programming Smarter Robots Paperback – Dec 1 2005
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From the Back Cover
POWER UP YOUR ROBOT WITH LINUX
If you want your robot to have more brains than microcontrollers can deliver -- if you want a truly intelligent, high-capability robot -- everything you need is right here. "Linux Robotics" gives you step-by-step directions for "Zeppo," a super-smart, single-board-powered robot that can be built by any hobbyist. You also get complete instructions for incorporating Linux single boards into your own unique robotic designs. No programming experience is required. This book includes access to all the downloadable programs you need, plus complete training in doing original programming.
THE POWER TO BUILD A SMARTER, MORE SOPHISTICATED ROBOT
Combining essential aspects of robotics and programming, this book/Website package from programmer/robot enthusiast D. Jay Newman for the first time empowers hobbyists to construct more intelligent, higher capacity robots. Use it to start designing and constructing your own superbot today.
Put More on Board with Linux More sophisticated movements Better vision and sensing Greater behavioral flexibility Upgraded image capture Improved navigational skills Smarter decision-making Faster responses And more
Access a Roboticist's Dream Website FREE with this book: Downloadable software Circuit examples Solderless breadboard designs (no tools required) Complete classes in behavioral and neural network programming, in Java www.books.mcgraw-hill.com/authors/newman
About the Author
McGraw-Hill authors represent the leading experts in their fields and are dedicated to improving the lives, careers, and interests of readers worldwide
Top Customer Reviews
Personally, I love the study of robotics. The author, however, has contempt for those interested, or so it seems. While professing a love of robotics, he advises us to use outdated and useless communication methods which I was able to discover with a simple google search.
He is unable to provide a SINGLE example of a functional system or part thereof. This is doubly damning as he consistently states that he has produced same. He gave links in the book which, before I did my googling, I attempted to follow and see his code and efforts. He never ONCE in the code produced something more than prototyping.
Worse yet, all of his examples are worked in Java which, for those attempting to work with embedded Linux, is about as powerful as the proverbial coconut-carrying-sparrow. Perhaps it could grip it by the husk, but who cares, the bloody thing will never get off the ground!
I was so discouraged after reading this travesty of a book - which purports to "step by step" walk you through the construction of a functioning robot - that I ended up shelving my project and this book for several years. The one thing that this Author will ensure is that you never get off the ground. RUN. He's a black-hole waiting to suck up your wallet.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I found the mention of Linux related topics on approximately 25 out of 155 pages in this book. This is excluding the 119 pages of Java source code in Appendix A.
Chapter 1. Mentions Linux on 9 of 25 pages where the author describes in general terms that he is using Gentoo Linux and describes generalized reasons why you might want to use Linux.
Chapter 2. I didn't find any mention of Linux.
Chapter 3. Mentioned Linux on 3 of 15 pages. The author describes in general terms that a Linux motherboard can be a master node on the network. He discusses using USB devices with Linux.
Chapter 4. Mentioned Linux on 3 of 16 pages. He revealed that Linux is not a real-time operating system. Motherboards using the FTDI chipset seem to better support Linux. The author stated that he had to write a USB driver for Linux but gave no detailed information.
Chapter 5. I didn't find any mention of Linux.
Chapter 6. Mentioned Linux on 3 of 10 pages. In this chapter he describes where he found text to speech source code.
Chapter 7. Mentioned Linux on 1 of 15 pages. He mentions that some high-level open source vision systems are easier to work with under Linux than others. Another general comment was about video drivers for Linux.
Chapter 8. I didn't find any mention of Linux.
Chapter 9. Mentions Linux on 2 of 8 pages. He describes Joone as a nice Neural Network Interface that works under Windows and Linux. He admits that he runs his on a Windows laptop but it could run on Linux.
Chapter 10. Mentions Linux on 5 of 17 pages. The author's wireless Linksys network card is not part of the Linux kernel but is supported in Gentoo. This chapter makes other general comments regarding Linux, WiFi, and NFS.
I don't fault the author for this book; other materials in this book are of value to some readers. It makes a good introductory book for someone interested in learning about robotics topics. I respect Mr. Newman for his contributions to the robotics forums.
I do however fault Tab Books for the title and promotional material surrounding this book. I'll be wary of their books in the future. Perhaps a more appropriate title would be "My Robot Uses Linux" or "Java Robotics". This is not a how-to book on creating your own "Linux Robotics" projects.
By Lewin Edwards. I bought this at the same time I bought Mr. Newman's book. I also own Lewin Edwards first book.
Embedded System Design on a Shoestring
I consider both of Lewin Edwards works mentioned above as must have books.
There are lot of ways to implement the controller. In this case he uses a small size but standard PC motherboard. On this board he runs a Linux operating system. In spite of the title, this is not really a book on how to use Linux to control robots. He just happens to use Linux for his robot because it is cheaper than Windows.
Most of the programming information he gives is the form of Java progrms that will handle the various devices (such as vision) that he wants built into his robots. In fact, much of the book, too much in fact, is given over to code. The code is available on line, reprinting it here in the book is pretty boring reading.
The book is a good introduction on how to design and build a robot using standard components. Here's how you can get started.
Not a bad book (most bot builders graduate from Arduino and Java to Linux and VHDL sooner or later for bigger projects), but much of the hype has been on the web available code and circuits, and that's simply, now, a lie. One could argue it's been a few years, but if you're still selling new books, I'd reply that buyers should at least get what's promised! Beware, as this is true of new and used copies. This is a shame, because the Java pieces were pretty sweet!
If you don't care about the code and web resources, book alone is well worth reading if you can get it at a good, used price (say, under $15 US including shipping), hence 2.5 stars.
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