On my return trip from Denver, I enjoyed another book. Instant LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 by Gary Garber is a quick read to get you up and going with the latest LEGO MINDSTORMS set. As you have seen in some of my previous posts, I do a lot with EV3 and I love sharing good resources for building robots.
Instant LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 is a great introduction to the educational version of the EV3. The book is great for teachers who are looking to integrate robotics into their classroom. Topics range from building a simple robot, to creating a proportional line follower.
Garber refers to the various segments of the book as ‘recipes’ and that really is a good name for them. Each section breaks down into steps, along with CAD renderings or screenshots. This makes for a good tutorial as it is easy to follow. Be it good or bad, you don’t need to read most of the book. The images are that good and easy to follow.
I would recommend this book for anyone, but with the focus on the educational kit, it is really best suited for teachers (or students who have access to an educational kit at school). Unlike the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT, EV3’s educational kit is quite different from the retail kit. The educational kit contains different sensors (ultrasonic instead of IR, no IR remote, and a gyro sensor), software (the educational software directly supports these sensor differences and includes data logging), and finally different parts (most notably the caster ball, pictured right).
One interesting surprise with this book is that I actually know one of the technical reviews. Chris Rogers, a professor at Tufts University and director of the Center for Engineering Education Outreach (CEEO). Chris and I had worked on some NXT projects (mainly involving my RS485 work). We seem to keep crossing paths.
Naturally, with technical reviews like Chris, and the detailed recipes, Instant LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 is a good book. While it does not go into to all the various ideas or projects that most other MINDSTORMS references include, it does a fine job of getting you up and going quickly. If you are looking for a quick read (under 100 pages!) or are like me and feel the need to read everything related to LEGO MINDSTORMS, you can find this book of amazon.com or from the publisher.