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This is a review of  Joe Nagata’s LEGO Mindstorms Idea Book

While surfing around the ‘net the other day I came across the website of
No Starch Press
. What caught my eye was the fact that they published a couple of LEGO Mindstorms
books that I’ve seen around. While I don’t have LEGO Mindstorms (I know, I know, I really should
get it) I figured that the book would be interesting to look at. So, I contact the ad. rep and asked
for a copy (great way to get books – just tell them you’re going to do a review here!). I pretty
much forgot about it, until a few days later, when I got it in the mail. I must say that this is
a very high quality publication. It’s a glossy paper-back with over 190 pages of simple, easy,
and way cool projects to build with your LEGO Mindstorms set. It also has 4 high quality glossy
color pages in the center that show pictures (well, they’re actually beautiful 3D renderings)
of all the models. Joe, a digital artist from Japan, first published his book over there in
1999. The book has step-by-step instructions for constructing 10 differnt models with over
250 CAD illustrations. The projects include: An always up rolling car, a 12 legged centipede,
a water skater, the LEGOsaurus, a train, a walker, a climber, a LEGO clock (really works!),
a pneumatic engine car, and a beetle. I would
have to say that my favorite models are the centipede – 12 legs with 1 motor, and the water
skater – it skates across a surface using a roller skate movement. There is also two appendixs dealing with different
combinations of gears and beams, and the NQC (Not Quite C) programming language. Most of the
projects in the book use the Mindstorms programming interface, while some use NQC.

Overall, the book is quite good – beautifully illustrated and easy to understand. But, depending
on how you work, you might not like it. While some will like the straight forward – "here’s the
steps" type of book, other will fell constrained by the all-layed-out steps. If you’re the type
who likes step by step instructions, then I say buy, but if you’re not, then check it out from
your library. The GoRobotics Network gives it 4.5 stars.

Joe Nagata’s LEGO Mindstorms Idea Book
Buy it here!

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