The LEGO® MINDSTORMS Robotics Invention System (RIS) is a wildly popular kit for building mobile robots. This book contains all the information you need to get the most out of your kit. Based on hands-on robot projects, the book includes descriptions of advanced mechanical techniques, programming with third-party software, building your own sensors, working with more than one kit, and sources of extra parts. This book goes far beyond what you'll find in the official documentation to enable you to build and program whatever you can imagine.
The center of the RIS kit is a small programmable robot brain called the RCX. This book explains the software architecture of the RCX as well as the various options that are available for programming it.
The book includes:
Hands-on robot projects, with complete building instructions and programs. Different aspects of these projects are used to explore fundmental issues of mobile robot design.
A chapter on NQC, a popular programming environment for RIS. You'll learn how NQC fits into the RIS software architecture, as well as how to write programs using NQC's C-like syntax. Includes copious examples.
A chapter on legOS, an alternate operating system for the RCX. legOS provides very low-level access to the resources of the RCX, enabling complex robot programming. This chapter describes legOS's structure and includes useful sample programs.
A chapter on pbForth, another powerful option for RCX robot programming. The chapter includes sample programs in Forth.
A chapter about building your own sensors. Making your own sensors is economical and educational. This chapter describes how to build several different sensors that will work with the RIS kit.
The book includes numerous illustrations and code examples. Many URLs are listed to serve as an introduction to the thriving online MINDSTORMS community.
Jonathan Knudsen is an author at O'Reilly & Associates. His books include The Unofficial Guide to Lego Mindstorms Robots, Java 2D Graphics, and Java Cryptography. He is the Courseware Writer for LearningPatterns.com.
Our look is the result of reader comments, our own experimentation, and feedback from distribution channels. Distinctive covers complement our distinctive approach to technical topics, breathing personality and life into potentially dry subjects. The image on the cover of The Unofficial Guide to LEGO® MINDSTORMS Robots is a mechanical toy rabbit or automaton, an automated machine. Biological automata, or androids, are imitations of living beings, animal or human, and have captured the imagination, fears, and hopes of inventors and spectators for many centuries. Especially notable in the long history of automata are the Chinese and Greek cultures. During the Renaissance, European automata and their mechanics or creators were viewed as mystical and magical--conjuring lifelike beings through suspect means. Machinery progressed from water-operated to weight-operated to clockwork structures, incorporating such well-known specimens as dolls who can say "Mama" and "Papa" (c. 1823) and the bejeweled, enameled eggs created by Russian Court Jeweler Carl Fabergé.
Mechanical toys have affected the progress of industry and been intertwined with myth, magic, and literature, from Prometheus to Asimov, in the process raising philosophical questions about the nature of life and humanity and the many implications of creating lifelike toys. Nicole Arigo was the production editor and proofreader for The Unofficial Guide to LEGO® MINDSTORMS Robots. Melanie Wang and Jane Ellin provided quality control reviews. Nancy Crumpton wrote the index.
Edie Freedman designed the cover of this book, using a 19th-century engraving from the Dover Pictorial Archive. Kathleen Wilson produced the cover layout with QuarkXPress 3.3 using Adobe's ITC Garamond font. Alicia Cech designed the interior layout based on a series design by Nancy Priest. Whenever possible, our books use RepKover, a durable and flexible lay-flat binding. If the pagecount exceeds RepKover's limit, perfect binding is used.
The book was implemented in FrameMaker by Mike Sierra. The text and heading fonts are ITC Garamond Light and Garamond Book. The illustrations that appear in the book were produced by Robert Romano using Macromedia FreeHand 8 and Adobe Photoshop 5. All photos were taken by Jonathan and Kristen Knudsen. This colophon was written by Nancy Kotary.