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Absolute Beginners Guide to Building Robots (Absolute Beginner's Guides (Que)) Paperback – 19 Sep 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: QUE; 1 edition (19 Sep 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789729717
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789729712
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 2 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 229,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Finally, a robots book for people who don't know the first thing about robotics! Absolute Beginner's Guide to Robots is well-written, inviting, and action-packed, with engaging ideas and fascinating factoids about robots and robot-related arts and sciences. You are led gently into the intimidating world of robotics, but nearly 400 pages later, you emerge with a respectable knowledge of robot history, the major fields and "schools" of robotics today, and the basic skills and resources needed to create hobby robots. By the end of the book, you will be the proud owner of three bots, the first two of which demonstrate key robotic principles. The third is a programmable/expandable robot, which serves as a platform for future experimentation. And best of all, these robots are built with simple to get and inexpensive parts - many of which you already have around the house!

About the Author

Gareth Branwyn is a well-known technology journalist and self-proclaimed "reluctant geek." He is writer and editor for Wired, ID and Esquire magazines, and has written many books on technology topics, including, Mosaic Quick Tour (the first World Wide Web book ever published), Jargon Watch: A Pocket Dictionary for the Jitterati, Jamming the Media: A Citizen's Guide, and The Happy Mutant Handbook. He also has contributed material to many technology books, including Que's Catalog of Tomorrow and The Millennium Whole Earth Catalog. He is Editor-in-chief, co-owner, and site designer of Street Tech (www.streettech.com). Gareth also contributed lyrics to Billy Idol's 1993 album Cyberpunk.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Fenrir on 8 Feb 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Found this excellent for a beginner to learn how to build 3 simple robots,you even get the history on the origins of robots.The instructions are very clear and the illustrations are good too.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Höglund on 3 May 2007
Format: Paperback
This book was well worth its price. It teaches you how to gather electronics parts and tools for building simple robots and how to use those tools. You also learn the history of robotics and the definition of what a robot is. In the end of the book is a list of robot books and links that will keep you busy for months.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By dylansdad987 on 29 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have only recently entered the world of robotics and was looking for a decent entry level book. I found 2. "JunkBots, Bugbots, and Bots on Wheels: Building Simple Robots With BEAM Technology", which I have already reviewed and this one. As with my other purchase, this book is an absolute must for those, like me, who are entering the magical world of robotics. Each step is clearly explained in "idiot's terms" with much humour to lighten this daunting subject. I cannot recommend this book highly enough and for the price, well what are you waiting for? Buy It! You'll be so glad you did.
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By nuttynige on 28 Oct 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
grandson happy thank you.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 26 reviews
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
True to the phrase "absolute beginner's" 4 Oct 2003
By Charles Ashbacher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Many people have an interest in robotics, but have a difficult time getting started. Even the simplest of robotics projects requires a wide range of basic skills, from how to solder connections to programming microprocessors. This book lives up to the title, in that it starts at the very beginning and steps you through how to build three simple robots.
In the first section, called robots.edu, a history of robots, some of the major players and some of the simple capabilities are described. The second section begins with a list of the tools and skills needed to build robots. As basic as you can go, this gives explicit details about how to start. Three simple robot projects are described in complete detail in the third section. All start with a list and photo of the parts needed to build the robot and a step-by-step building procedure to follow. The parts are easy to obtain and cheap, but if you are not the type to shop around, there is a link to a company called Solarbotics, where you can purchase a complete kit.
True to the meaning of the phrase, "absolute beginner", this book is a great place to start if you have the desire to build robots, but lack the skills and knowledge.
41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
Excellent fun - pure joy and enthusiasm! 8 Jan 2004
By David Williams - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a tremendously fun and engaging book. It is immediately compelling and never loses its way as it ploughs through a plethora of topics, introducing all the basic skills and resources needed to genuinely construct one's own hobby robots.
The book begins with a fascinating history on the origins of robots leading through to robot kits available today (like Lego Mindstorms), as well as off-the-shelf robots (like Aibo).
The book culminates in three hands-on projects involving building a walking coat hanger, animating an old computer mouse, and then a walking CD rack with an embedded microcontroller for brains, programmable by Visual Basic. These projects are all slightly zany and even off-the-wall but demonstrate solid techniques and show just how robotics is limited only by one's imagination. Best of all, they use as few commercial parts as possible, preferring to recycle household junk.
This title is a delight to read; it is absorbing and highly entertaining. However, to my mind, its absolute greatest attribute is the sheer sense of fun and enthusiasm which radiates from the author. It's clear he has an enquiring mind and an almost childish fascination for robots. It's easy to imagine him longing for his very own R2D2! This pure sense of wonderment really comes out and is sure to infect even the most technophobic of readers. This is wonderfully remniscent of the "hacker" spirit possessed by all the greatest computer scientists and hobbyists who really strive to understand just how technology works, and how to develop it themselves.
The book concludes with a detailed, annotated, list of books, magazines and Web sites that can be referred to for more information. Finally, it contains a 10% off voucher for a US based robot parts Web-store but fortunately for international readers the parts used throughout can be sourced from most any electronics or hobby supplier.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Great projects for a beginner 7 Sep 2004
By John M. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have been fascinated with robots ever since I was a little kid. When I was young, I would go to the library and check out books about robots. Most of these books talked about movie robots and then told about the many different kinds of robots that could be purchased commerically at the time. I loved to read through those books and imagine what it would be like to have my own robot. Years later, I have gotten the robotics bug again and I have been interested in building my own simple robot. I bought this book and I loved the history section. It told about the history of actual robotics and how various roboticists have influenced each other's work. It also talks about different approaches to tackling different problems. After covering the theory and history of robotics, the book tells you exactly what tools you need and what you need to get started with building 3 simple robots. He even has sections on the electronic components and how to solder. This book is really written for beginners! Each project helps you build a different kind of robot that with increasing complexity. The instructions seem very clear and the illustrations are very good too. The best thing about this book is the fact that there is a very active web forum where people can discuss their progress on the projects and the author has been very eager to help people that have questions.

Some other comments here have complained that the book's projects are not original or that there are missing parts. The author never claimed the projects to be original. He gives credit to the original designers and has made variations that make the projects more foolproof for beginners. He has built them all multiple times and provides original instructions that are very clear and easy to follow. He also has the active website (very unusual for a robot book in my experience) where you can ask questions and he can clarify anything that you have trouble with.

I highly recommend this book for anyone that wants to learn about the history of robotics to date or that wants to get started building their own robot.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Good begining book 6 Dec 2005
By Jack - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a very good beginner book on a very complex subject. By the end you will have built a few robots, and that is where all the love/hate is. The author also has a webpage where he offers advice and help with problems you may have. Personally, I am very happy with this purchase, and staying up late working on my robots...advice: Radio Shack will not have all the parts you need (he includes where to obtain parts).
32 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Not what i expected 15 Oct 2004
By Matt E. Mathes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
When the title of the book says Absolute Beginners's guide it means it. The book does a good job of explaining the history of robotics, and describing the various types. But there is a definate lack of explaination when it comes to the robots them selves. Its simply "asseble part A with part B, then move on to C." With no reasoning behind why you're doing it. In short the book does a poor job of teaching you robotics but instead is an exercise in how to follow directions.
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