The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Laboratory: Build, Program, and Experiment with Five Wicked Cool Robots!

The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Laboratory: Build, Program, and Experiment with Five Wicked Cool Robots!

The LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 set offers so many new and exciting features that it can be hard to know where to begin. Without the help of an expert, it could take months of experimentation to learn how to use the advanced mechanisms and numerous programming features.

In The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Laboratory, author Daniele Benedettelli, robotics expert and member of the elite LEGO MINDSTORMS Expert Panel, shows you how to use gears, beams, motors, sensors, and programming blocks to

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3 thoughts on “The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Laboratory: Build, Program, and Experiment with Five Wicked Cool Robots!

  1. 35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Amazing and Fun Learning Tool from the Rubik Guy, October 22, 2013
    By 

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

    I use dozens of mindstorm projects in our High School Robotics tutorials, and this is by far the most advanced, complete and innovative, and by FAR the most clearly illustrated. I tried out the projects at an advanced teach the teachers conference (also using Blankenships fine book: Robot’s in the Classroom), which we buy in quantity, and even MS beginners “got” the pictures immediately.

    The projects worked great with few glitches, and typical of No Starch, the code and diagrams were well edited and functional right out of the book. The author has a “save you money” attitude, and tries to show processor block techniques that don’t require a laptop to execute, but also includes PC interfaces (see page references below) in advanced projects. As you probably know, you DO need the $350 Lego Mindstorms kit to conduct these experiments and build these projects! (For reference it is a great deal on Amazon, it is here: LEGO Mindstorms EV3 31313). This is a PROFESSIONAL level robotics kit, but one that even HS kids can enjoy.

    Most books like this concentrate either on code or mechanics, and few do both well, let alone theory. I mean, even at over 400 pages and with 5 real projects, there is a LOT to cover, especially since this author really likes autonomous designs and working on deep (and custom!) details, like math and software that turn gear activators into transmissions via math (functions/code). Of the other top 3 MS project books, this is the ONLY one that not only covers scripting in detail, as well as gears/servos etc. AND also goes very deeply into logic, math, technical aspects of robotics, etc.

    Remember, this young author is the one who created an award winning Rubik’s cube solver! Some of the predator-prey code is done so elegantly that the military drone types will probably be looking at it– in advanced work these sims require graduate school level differential equations, yet this inventor does it with minimilist code that High Schoolers and self taught hobbyists get right away! As long as your “prey” has a signature (eg IR), you’re good to chase and eat with your voracious T Rex.

    Part of the value you don’t get in any other book is that the writer is a true inventor both mechanically and codewise, and you can see his practical experience on every page of shortcuts, wisdoms and rules of thumb you can use even in the most advanced robotics. A “solver” mind can write 5 lines of Haskell that will solve any Sudoku puzzle, while other more imperative coders take over 40 lines of Java. In robotics, with memory always at a premium even in those that run Linux, authors like this with real world accomplishments don’t teach you a bunch of techniques you have to unlearn later, and get you and your students/ kids/ grandkids on the right track from day one, even with the physics, mechanical engineering and math. The “comic book” adds really give you a break from the plentiful “parts” mechanical illustrations and programming action throughout.

    Takes a high school level mind to get most of it, and undergrad for some of the advanced concepts, but any intelligent layperson can get these done with K-12 “helpers.” I don’t know about Italy, but shop classes in the US are virtually gone (like sports programs are going!), so Lego Mindstorms is one of the few “STEM” courses that can hide out as math, science and engineering yet still teach numerous practical mechanical techniques, gears, angles, etc. while having real FUN.

    Highly recommended, at the top of my top 5 list in this subject area, whether you’re a hobbyist, teacher, student, or professional robotocist. GREAT adjunct gift with an MS purchase too– I wouldn’t invest in an MS kit without this book! AND if you don’t have the $350 to shell out on an MS right now (who does today?), the “wisdom” of the code and projects (although not the specific mechanics, as the numerous illustrations are obviously MS) also work for parallax, robobasic and many other projects that require less investment. Some more advanced libraries are offering MS as a checkout item also, although the last one I got for one of my kids was an earlier version than this text covers, yet still 90% applicable.

    A few page number references for the above topics (NOTE: this book is literally FILLED with illustrations, so don’t worry if the text topics seem complex, the author takes painstaking time to illustrate everything from component builds to screen shots to a complete in-book comic! There also are little “Digging Deeper” boxes that explain advanced concepts.

    There are FAR more illustrations than there is text, even though the…

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  2. 15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A great introduction to the newest LEGO robotics system!!, November 11, 2013
    By 
    Joseph Meno (Raleigh, NC United States) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Laboratory is a book that makes a few assumptions of the reader: 1. The reader is new to LEGO building, 2. The reader is new to programming, and 3. The reader probably doesn’t have a computer.

    With over 400 pages, Daniele gives the reader an introduction to all the above, in an informative and fun narrative. The framing device for the book is comic of a boy becoming an apprentice to the scientist (Daniele’s alter ego), making the book accessible to young readers. However, adults will find a tremendous amount of useful information when reading the book.

    I learned a lot, including building with TECHNIC elements (which are in the MINDSTORMS sets and are constructed differently from the well-known LEGO brick) and more importantly, using gears. The building guide on gears in this book is clear and easy to understand, and also one of the first guides of its type I have seen in print.

    Programming is also explained in a clear fashion – while the book deals with the programming that can be done on the brick directly (a new MINDSTORMS feature), it also touches on programming from its computer application. Again, this is the first book I have seen with a guide to on-brick programming, and it’s easy to figure out with the illustrations shown.

    The instructions and models are interesting, with each showing a different building concept. Things like biped (two-legged) walking and line following are explained to the builder as a model is built. Ideas for going beyond the programming are also included, so this allows the reader to explore further.

    With all of this information, I strongly recommend this book for not only LEGO builders interested in MINDSTORMS robotics, but also FIRST LEGO teams to learn about building techniques and especially gearing. I would also recommend the digital version too, so its info is always close at hand while building!

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  3. 8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Essential Resource For Kids Of All Ages Who Want To Understand How Things Work, December 11, 2013
    By 

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    First of all a caveat: I do not work for Amazon, LEGO or No Starch Press, and I’m not related to the author. I’m a 63 year old kid who was weaned on Tinker Toys and Erector sets. I enjoy building things, can follow instructions and use a computer, and am innately curious about how the things I build actually work. I bought this book to better understand how the EV3 robots actually work, both mechanically and programatically, and have found it to be extremely useful.

    Thus far I’ve built and programmed the first four robots (Chapters 1-14). I had no problem following the monochromatic instructions, although an ebook in full color is now available via No Starch Press.

    The most interesting part for me is the clear explanation of how the programming blocks work, both singly and in combination. I didn’t find the information on programming via the EV3 Brick App to be particularly useful–I suspect that most users will program on their PCs–however, you don’t have to know any programming language to replicate and modify the programs which are richly illustrated. And those not interested in programming at all can simply download the programs from the author’s website. The entire book is organized with just enough information for everyone–from those interested in making the robots “come alive” to those desiring a deeper understanding so they can create and activate whatever their imaginations can conceive.

    A bonus: If you get stuck along the way you can email the author for guidance. He’s already helped me on two occasions which has both improved my understanding and fueled my enthusiasm. And there’s no charge!

    I recommend this book to everyone, young and old. Almost makes me wish I was back in high school taking a robotics class. Well, almost…………………..

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