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123 Robotics Experiments for the Evil Genius Paperback – 1 Mar 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; Pck edition (1 Mar. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071413588
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071413589
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 1.2 x 27.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 613,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Back Cover



If you enjoy tinkering in your workshop and have a fascination for robotics, you'll have hours of fun working through the 123 experiments found in this innovative project book.

More than just an enjoyable way to spend time, these exciting experiments also provide a solid grounding in robotics, electronics, and programming. Each experiment builds on the skills acquired in those before it so you develop a hands-on, nuts-and-bolts understanding of robotics -- from the ground up.

123 Robotics Projects for the Evil Genius --

* Introduces you to robotics, electronics, and programming for robotics step-by-step -- you don't need to be a science whiz to get started, but you will be when you have finished
* Vividly explains the science behind robots and the technologies needed to build them, including: Electronics; Mechanical assembly; Motors and batteries; Programming and microcontrollers
* Shows how you can create simple robots and models using materials found around the house and workroom
* Requires only inexpensive, easily obtained parts and tools
* Provides a PCB (printed circuit board) that will make it easy to create the circuits used in this book as well as your own experiments
* Gives you directions for building a maze-solving robot, two different designs for a light-seeking robot, an artificial intelligence program that will respond to you, and much more
* Explains underlying principles and suggests other applications
* Supplies parts lists and program listings


About the Author

Myke Predko is a New Technologies Test Engineer at Celestica in Toronto, Canada. He is the author of McGraw-Hill's Programming and Customizing PICMicro Microcontrollers, Second Edition, and is the principal designer of the TAB Electronics Sumo-Bot.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. K. Wardle on 21 Feb. 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a 'curates egg' of a book - good in parts. The 123 'experiments' start with making model robots from cardboard tubes and pipe cleaners and how to saw plywood (!) before later moving on to reasonably skilled soldering, Basic Stamp 2 programming and advanced electronics. I am really not sure at whom this book is aimed, as the content ranges from the most basic, where resistors are described simply by their colour code, to more complex ideas of integrated circuitry and digital logic. Many of the ideas match those in the downloadable Parallax material and the circuit board supplied with the book is a 'poor man's version' of the 'Homework Board' familiar to BS2 users. However, many listed components required to make it up are not easily obtained by UK hobbyists, even on the internet, and really need a shopping trip to the USA.
If the book is patiently worked through, and the components can be found, the constructor will end up with a standard line-following differential drive robot based around the Basic Stamp 2, but BS2 enthusiasts will already be familiar with Parallax's teaching material and the BOE-Bot which will achieve the same end.
The fact that this is a first edition shows in numerous grammatical errors (poor proof reading), some of which will confuse beginners, such as resistors described as 220v instead of 220 ohms.
Despite my above reservations, this book is very useful as a revision of basic concepts and as a source of ideas and inspiration for robot construction. It works through concepts in a very structured way but I'm afraid that an 'evil genius' is likely to be left seriously disappointed!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Chris_W on 6 April 2007
Format: Paperback
Before considering this book try to source the major component which it is based around, a Basic Stamp BS2 module. They can be ordered direct from Parallax but the UPS worldwide charge (no alternative available) is more than the cost of a single module.

At the time of writing this review the publishers book description does not reflect the contents of the book. As mentioned the main component is a BS2 module which is programmed using parallax basic and there is no such section as "The PICmicro microcontroller and 'C' programming language" neither is there a section on "Games and applications". To see the true contents look through the first few pages of the "Search inside this book" link.

There is little point buying the book if you can't find a BS2 as you won't be able to build the more interesting examples. If you can source one then the book is a good introduction to robotics upon which you should be able to expand and build your own creations.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 20 reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Fun read - also a scavenger hunt! 10 Jun. 2005
By S. Knight - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Great book but I have spent several hours in Radio Shack and a local Electronics supply house searching for the parts needed for the PCB and still have only about half of what I need. I found this site: [...] that has all the parts in a kit form, so I will order from them and see how that works out. Otherwise a fun and informative book so far.
42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
A mixed bag of feelings 20 Sept. 2004
By Ed Alvarez - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good book, in the sense that it teaches you a variety of topics from basic electronics to intermediate/advanced robotics, including some MCU programming. It does this in a series of experiments (lessons) that you follow thru. However, the book's goal is *not* to teach you how to build a single unique robot, instead, you learn how the different "parts" (circuits or sub-systems) of a robot do work by themselves. So you understand how each piece of the puzzle works, but it's up to you to actually "assemble" the puzzle on to completion.

I found some of the lessons vague, and not all of them include pictures. Without a picture, you must read the descriptions carefully, and just hope you are doing everything right. Many times, the author simply forgets that a picture speaks for a thousand words.

Another con I find is this: for every lesson, you need a parts list. That is, imagine you are only interested in completing 30% of the lessons. You will then have to travel 37 times to The Shack or some online store to get the parts. And no, no catalog part numbers. And worse yet, for many of the lessons you must buy or get hard-to-find parts that will only be used in that particular lesson. I don't find that neither inexpensive or enjoyable.

It is a good book, but I don't think it would be a good choice for beginners. In fact, I am still unsure of its target audience.
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
A great intro to electronics and robotics 7 April 2004
By J. Wiest - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first 2/3rds of this book are more about electronics in general than robotics, but it's a great way to see how all the parts really work and interrelate. It really takes away a lot of the mystery. The author's writing style is geared towards high-schoolers, but at the same time he doesn't dumb it down. As a 40-year old with little electronics background, but lots of computer programming, this was a great relief to me.
Each recipe comes with a full list of parts and tools required, so you can head to RadioShack or wherever knowing you have what you need. Highly recommended.
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Robots from the Ground Up 30 Jan. 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you don't know _anything_ about robots and don't know where to start - this is probably the book for you. Mr. Predko starts with a few simple robot models and then goes through materials, basic electronics, semiconductors, timers, digital logic, power, introductory programming, computer interfacing and, finally robot design. When you get through all the experiments, you can comfortably call yourself a "roboticist" and have the knowledge to start creating your own small robots.
This book is VERY dense with a lot of information in it - don't exepct to get through it in a few days. There are literally ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY THREE experiments in this book, each one nicely thought out and written and not a lot of work - I've done three now (building the PCB that comes with the book, a 555 PWM and servo driver).
This is definitely the best book out there for people who want to come up with their robots and don't even know what they have to know. Mr. Predko, well done!
25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Buyer beware! 7 Jan. 2005
By H. W. Kroeger - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
First of all I'm puzzled about this book's intent. It begins with trivial kindergarden level constructions but ends with some pretty sophisticated computer programming. In the middle it deals with *very* basic electronics mixed with some fairly advanced stuff.

However, the big problem is the circuit board provided with the book. It is necessary for most of the experiments and vital for the microprocessor work at the end, but finding the parts for it may be quite difficult. The parts list is inadequate and inaccurate. You can't get what you need from The Shack, you'll have to go to an electronics supply house, and even then, you will have trouble finding what you need. (The author did not supply manufacturers or part numbers.) You may end up, as I did, buying a prebuilt board from the microprocessor manufacturer and they aren't cheap!.

It also calls for other parts I had a lot of trouble finding. Some of the transistors are not garden variety in the US and no mention is made of suitable substitutions.
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