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Basic Robot Building With LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0

By John Baichtal

Published by Que

Published Date: Jan 7, 2013

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Start building robots with LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT, fast! This gorgeous, full-color book shows off both the beauty and technical brilliance of LEGO Mindstorms NXT, and helps absolute beginners quickly gain true mastery through three start-to-finish, hands-on projects. You need ZERO knowledge of robotics and Mindstorms to succeed with this book: it painlessly covers everything you should know, whether you're a kid, a teenager, or a busy parent. John Baichtal guides you gently up the learning curve, gradually introducing new ideas and techniques, offering expert tips, and explaining every new term in plain English. Basic Robot Building with LEGO Mindstorms NXT covers both simple programming theory and LEGO building techniques, so it's the only book you'll need to get started. Coverage includes: unboxing LEGO Mindstorms NXT and walking through what's included; Building a "backscratching bot" immediately, with absolutely no programming; connecting the NXT Brick to your computer, uploading programs, and navigating menus; writing simple programs; building stronger models; using mesh gears; working with NXT's touch, ultrasonic, and light sensors; creating more complex programming structures such as loops and variables; expanding Mindstorms NXT with third-party products, and much more. Packed with stunning full-color photos, this is the easiest LEGO Mindstorms NXT book out there -- and the most fun!

Table of Contents

Conventions Used in This Book 4

    Special Elements 4


Chapter 1 Unboxing the LEGO Mindstorms NXT Set 7

The Box 7

    Under the Flap 8

    Opening the Box 9

The Contents 9

    Reading Material 10

    Connector Pegs 11

    3M Connector Pegs 12

    Connector Pegs with Bushing 13

    Connector Pegs with Cross-Axle Ends 14

    2M Axle Peg 14

    Connector Peg with Towball 15

    1/2 Connector Pegs 16

    Bushings 16

    Cross Axles 17

    Cross Axles with End Stops 18

    Wheels and Treads 19

    Gears 20

    Teeth 21

    Balls 21

    Beams With Pegs 22

    Beams 23

    Angle Beams 24

    Car Parts 25

    Steering Links 26

    Angle Elements 26

    Cross-Axle Connectors 27

    Cross Blocks 27

    More Miscellaneous Parts 28

    Peg Joiner 29

    Motors, Wires, and Sensors 31

    USB Cable 34

    Mindstorms Wires 35

    The NXT Brick 35

Next Chapter 36


Chapter 2 Project: Backscratcher Bot 37

Adding Batteries to the NXT Brick 38

Parts You Need 40

Step-by-Step Assembly Instructions 42

Programming the Backscratcher Bot 49

Running the Backscratcher Bot 56

Next Chapter 56


Chapter 3 Anatomy of the NXT Brick 57

The Brick 58

    Buttons 59

    Ports 59

    Connector Holes 61

    Reset Button 62

Menus 63

    My Files 63

    NXT Program 66

    Try Me 67

    The View Menu 68

    NXT Datalog 70

    Settings 70

    Bluetooth 73

Powering Your NXT 77

Resetting a Crash 78

Updating NXT Firmware 78

The Next Chapter 79


Chapter 4 Introduction to Programming 81

System Requirements 82

Installing the Software 83

    Installing on a PC 83

    Installing on a Mac 84

NXT-G 101 85

    The Programming Block 85

    Commonplace Blocks 87

Programming the Backscratcher Bot 92

    Create the Program 92

    Connect to the NXT Brick 93

    Download the Program 94

The Next Chapter 94


Chapter 5 Project: Clothesline Cruiser 95

Parts You Need 96

Step-by-Step Instructions 97

Programming the Clothesline Cruiser 119

Setting Up the Clothesline 120

What to Do With Your Cruiser? 121

The Next Chapter 122


Chapter 6 Building Stronger Models 123

Use Multiple Pegs 123

Connect Each Part to as Many Others as Possible 123

Reinforce Corners with Angle Beams 124

Use Combination Parts and Cross Blocks 124

Attach Cross Axles 125

Combine Technic and System Bricks 126

Use Chassis Bricks 128

The Next Chapter 129


Chapter 7 Know Your Sensors 131

Mindstorms Sensors 131

    Touch Sensors 132

    Ultrasonic Sensors 133

    Color Sensors 133

    Sound Sensor 134

    Motor 135

Calibrating Sensors 136

Third-Party Sensors 137

    Compass Sensor 138

    Passive Infrared (PIR) Sensor 138

    Wi-Fi Sensor 138

    Magnetic Sensor 139

    Flex Sensor 139

    Voltage Sensor 140

    Barometric Sensor 140

    Inertial Motion Sensor 140

The Next Chapter 141


Chapter 8 Advanced Programming 143

Data Wires 144

    Green Wires 144

    Yellow Wires 145

    Orange Wires 145

    Gray Wires 146

Connecting Wires 147

Additional Blocks 148

    Variable Block 148

    Constant Block 149

    Random Block 150

    Keep Alive Block 150

    Light Sensor Block 151

    Rotation Sensor Block 151

    Display Block 152

    Bluetooth Block 152

    Logic Block 153

Creating Your Own Blocks 154

The Next Chapter 156


Chapter 9 Project: Rebounder 157

Parts You Need 158

Step-by-Step Instructions 159

A Note About Tank Treads 175

Programming the Rebounder 176

The Next Chapter 180


Chapter 10 Expanding on Mindstorms 181

Read Blogs 181

    The NXT STEP 181

    Mindstorms 182

Design Virtual Models 183

Attend Gatherings 184

    LUGs 185

    Conventions 185

FIRST LEGO League 186

Read BrickJournal 188

Expand Your Collection 188

    Bricklink 189

    Pick a Brick 189

    LEGO Education 189

Third-Party Brick Makers 190

    Omni Wheels 190

    Bricktronics 190

    Tetrix 191

Print Your Own 192


Glossary 195


Index 201

Purchase Info

ISBN-10: 0-13-311183-0

ISBN-13: 978-0-13-311183-5

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