The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Zoo!: A Kid-Friendly Guide to Building Animals with the NXT Robotics System

Overview

Whether you're just beginning with your LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT set or are already an expert, you'll have hours of fun with these animal-like models that walk, crawl, hop, and roll!

The first part of the book introduces you to the NXT kit and reviews the parts you'll need in order to begin building. Next, you'll learn how to program with the NXT-G programming language, including how to make miniprograms called My Blocks that you can use to build larger programs. Finally, you'll ...

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Overview

Whether you're just beginning with your LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT set or are already an expert, you'll have hours of fun with these animal-like models that walk, crawl, hop, and roll!

The first part of the book introduces you to the NXT kit and reviews the parts you'll need in order to begin building. Next, you'll learn how to program with the NXT-G programming language, including how to make miniprograms called My Blocks that you can use to build larger programs. Finally, you'll learn how to build each robot and program it to act like its real animal cousins.

Learn to build and program the following robots:

  • Ribbit, a jumping frog
  • Bunny, a hopping rabbit
  • Sandy, a walking camel
  • Spiderbot, an eight-legged spider that avoids objects and walks forward and backward
  • Snout, a walking alligator that opens and closes its jaws
  • LEGOsaurus, a four-legged, plodding dinosaur
  • Pygmy, a walking elephant that raises and lowers its head
  • Polecat, a skunk on wheels that lifts its tail and shoots "darts"
  • Strutter, a peacock on wheels that turns and flutters its tail feathers

Troubleshooting tips help you avoid problems like misarranged gears and incorrect programming, while a list of Internet resources is included to help guide you in further exploration with the NXT. Teachers and home educators will appreciate an appendix with helpful suggestions for using the models in the classroom.

The models in this book have been tested repeatedly - and built successfully - by novice builders, so all you have to do is follow the directions and watch them go. Now, let the building begin!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593271701
  • Publisher: No Starch Press San Francisco, CA
  • Publication date: 2/1/2008
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 344
  • Sales rank: 486,793
  • Product dimensions: 8.02 (w) x 9.92 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Fay Rhodes is co-author of The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Idea Book(No Starch), a 2007 member of LEGO's MINDSTORMS Community Partners (MCP), and the only female contributor to the NXT Step Blog.

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Table of Contents

Preface

1 The right stuff: do you have what it takes to build "living" robots? 1

The starting point 1

Some parts are recommended, not required 2

The education resource set-recommended for everyone 2

Hassenpins-an NXT favorite 2

3 x 5 L shape with quarter ellipse beams 3

Where to find parts 3

Peeron 3

Pick-a-brick 5

TECHNIC accessories 5

Companion website 7

2 The zookeeper's guide: what you need to know to create the animals in the NXT zoo 9

Coast vs. brake 9

Direction 9

Downloading a program from your computer to the NXT brick 10

Changing inches to centimeters 10

My blocks 11

Pins 14

Port selection 14

Power settings 14

3 Hip-hoppers: an NXT frog and rabbit 15

Ribbit: an NXT frog 15

Building ribbit 17

Wiring connections 28

Bunny: an NXT rabbit 30

Building bunny 31

Wiring connections 45

Programming ribbit and bunny 45

Hopping program #1: Random hopping 46

Hopping program #2: Create your own pattern 51

4 Sandy: an NXT camel 57

Building sandy 58

Legs (build four) 59

Full assembly 63

Wiring connections 78

Programming sandy 79

My block: camelwalk 79

The main program 82

5 Spiderbot: an NXT spider 85

Building spiderbot 86

Pause now to test your robot's legs 100

Wiring connections 103

Programming spiderbot 103

6 Snout: an NXT 'gator 111

Building snout 112

Base 113

Back feet (build two) 120

Head 122

Left leg 126

Right leg 131

Tail 135

Full assembly 140

Wiring connections 142

Programming snout 144

My block #1 Gatoröwalk 144

My block #2 Gatorömouth 147

The main program 152

7 LEGOsaurus: an NXT dinosaur 155

Building LEGOsaurus 156

Base156

Legs (build four) 163

Armor 166

Full assembly 169

Wiring connections 180

Need some help troubleshooting this robot? 180

Programming LEGOsaurus 180

8 Pygmy: an NXT elephant 187

Building pygmy 188

Base 189

Head 202

Legs (build four) 215

Trunk 219

Full assembly 220

Wiring connections 223

Programming pygmy 223

My block: elephant 223

The main program 226

9 Polecat: an NXT skunk 229

Building polecat 230

Body 231

Head 237

Tail 241

Full assembly 257

Connecting the cannon trigger 258

Wiring connections 258

Programming polecat 259

My block: Tail 260

The main program 261

Final program with multiple runs 264

10 Strutter: an NXT peacock 265

Building strutter 266

Front wheel (build two) 268

Left wing 269

Right wing 271

Full assembly 274

A pulley system for the wings #1 292

A pulley system for the wings #2 299

Wiring connections 299

Troubleshooting tip 299

Programming strutter 300

My block #1 Shake 300

My block #2 ShakePlus 303

The whole program 305

A Enrichment ideas for teachers 307

Ultrasound 307

Mathematical calculations in NXT-G programming 307

Simple machines 308

Ideas for investigation 308

Investigation #1 What is the best leg length for your robot? 309

Investigation #2 How does leg design affect the center of gravity? 309

Investigation #3 How does the method of programming a robotic turn affect the result? 309

Investigation #4 How can you make a specific robot go exactly where you want it to go? 309

Investigation #5 How does weight distribution affect function? 310

Investigation #6 How can we accurately program a turn in a specific walking robot? 310

Investigation #7 Which string is best for use on pulleys in robots such as pygmy and strutter? 310

Using your findings 311

The arts 311

B Troubleshooting 313

Are your gears grinding and pulling the robot apart? 313

What if your robot walks in place, instead of moving forward? 315

Does your robot seem to be ignoring your programming directions? 316

Whatever you do... 316

C Web resources for the NXT 317

Index 319

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