The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 robotics set is generating interest from increasingly broader audiences and The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 DISCOVERY BOOK is the perfect companion to onboard new users with ease.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has previously been afraid to buy an EV3 set or who believes they need a nerd-level-computer science degree to program a robot. This book explains everything in simple, understandable detail. Even Valk acknowledges, “This book assumes you have no previous experience with either building or programming LEGO MINDSTORMS.”
Valk opens the book with a comforting review of what you get in the EV3 box –explaining everything in easy terms—then walks you through building your first robot. The full color, page filling instructions are easy to follow and Valk begins each building exercise with a visual roster of the parts you will need to complete each step.
After teaching you the anatomy of a simple robot and explaining the buttons and functions on the programmable brick, the real fun of the book begins.
In meticulous and ever increasing detail, Valk takes you on a chapter-by-chapter journey of how to use and create programming “blocks” so that you can learn to make your robot(s) do practically anything you want. Of course the book takes a walk-before-you-run approach, and colorful tutorials allow you to learn in stages at your own pace.
I don’t know Valk’s background, but his writing style and chapters come across like he’s a friendly educator. Without being condescending, he frequently summarizes and reminds you of what you are learning, yet never assumes you know what a sensor or gear can do for you until he explains it.
Along your evolutionary journey, you will move from building a three-wheeled explorer to a racecar, then a stick-legged ant, a gaming sketch bot then a robotic arm on tank treads. The book concludes by providing detailed instructions on how to build a mini-humanoid-robot that can walk on two legs, move its arms and head, and eventually talk. Although the agenda sounds ambitious, by the time you have experienced the other models, you will be a pro.
The book features one of the better tables of contents I have seen in a while and is liberal on the use of color and illustrations.
Although this book is geared more towards newbie EV3 users, it would be wrong to assume that experienced builders won’t be challenged. The autonomous grabber arm is a great model for any robotics fan, and Valk’s explanations of multi-tasking, data wires and the advanced features of flow blocks will remind many builders that they can do better.
This is a must-buy book for students, educators or anyone who thinks they can’t build or program LEGO robots.