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Arduino Robot Bonanza Paperback – 1 Apr 2013


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About the Author

Gordon McComb is one of the world’s leading authors on amateur and educational robotics. His bestselling book, Robot Builder’s Bonanza, first published in 1987 and now in its fourth edition, is a renowned, widely read guide for the robot builder. McComb is also the author of 65 other books, plus thousands of magazine articles for such publications as Popular Science and Modern Electronics. For 13 years, he wrote a weekly syndicated newspaper column on computers and technology, which reached several million readers nationwide.


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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful Intro to Robotics but Beware the "No Code" Idea! 23 Mar. 2013
By Let's Compare Options Preptorial - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's a little bit too bad that all the hype about this fine book clouds its real value-- as a great bridge between "toy" and "real" robotics. In order to attract (young scientists?) the promos promise that, without programming, you can create walking, talking, thinking robots from commonly found parts. I probably don't have to tell you to take that with a grain of salt. But I also don't want you to be turned off by it either!

The Arduino IS programmable, and this book DOES take you through some of the most up to date and recent applications from (now) several years of applications. You can see the Arduino here: Arduino UNO R3 board with DIP ATmega328P. Even more interestingly, check out the much newer Raspberry Pi here: Raspberry Pi Model B Revision 2.0 (512MB). The Pi is a fully featured "PC" that you can sync with Arduino to do many more advanced robotics projects, including home automation. This book doesn't detail that level of programming but does give many tips about the Arduino interface.

The third step up are "Robot Basic" type progams, and those are beyond the scope of this book. Toy robotics, like the very expensive LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0 (8547) are a great introduction to robotics for kids. Far beyond that are "real" robotics including reverse kinematics, robot vision, etc. that apply to everything from drones to bomb disposal bots, moon rovers, etc. as well as industrial robots. This book gives a great transition between the two by detailing many "next level" aspects like motors and interfaces with the CPU, but not to the extent of losing non-math oriented types.

Advanced hobbyists will read this and initially think it is too basic, but remember, new capabilities like Arduino and Raspberry can take your robotics to a much higher level, DEPENDING on your willingness to get into the coding. A step beyond both Raspberry and Arduino is the Parallax Propeller (8 core multi board), which can interface with both Arduino and Raspberry. Details here: Propeller P8X32A Breakout.

Would the details here work as a father/mother-son/daughter project guide? Absolutely yes. Can you really get by with NO programming? Well, what's the point of Arduino if you don't program, but to be fair, yes-- realizing you won't get much intelligence out of your project with that limitation. Even the most basic line following (not to mention finding power when you run low!) requires programming.

The book DOES cover these details and many more, so there is a bit of a disconnect between the publisher's dumbing down description and the author's - book's actual value and advanced content. There is the "teachbot" the "tunebot" and the "telebot," at progressively deeper levels, and to give you an example of why this isn't a "toy" text, it does cover making your own circuit boards, robot vision, servos, remote control, and much more, tilting content well beyond the toy category.

In the end, the greatest value is the currency, in web reference resources, sources for parts, lists, and many more aspects that show this author has not only a ton of "real world" Arduino/Robotics pairings, but also very recent experience at a very advanced level in Arduino (not surprising given his Bonanza background!). The ideal audience would be an Arduino buff just moving into robotics or vice versa. If you're already working with both, you might find the "intro to the Arduino platform" (etc.) too elementary, but making your own boards quite challenging, and would still appreciate the references and tips. For the price, the currency of the info is well worth your investment even if you're an old Arduino pro.

Note on other gems: McGraw is excellent, but most of you know O'Reilly is quite tasty. If you want to augment this fine new text with some really amazing 2011 connections, including LOTS of real code (not pseudocode) and MANY screen shots, check out: Make: Arduino Bots and Gadgets: Six Embedded Projects with Open Source Hardware and Software (Learning by Discovery). Kimmo-Tero also is the author that describes the famous "mind controlled robot" in: Make a Mind-Controlled Arduino Robot: Use Your Brain as a Remote (Creating With Microcontrollers Eeg, Sensors, and Motors).

Library Picks reviews only for the benefit of Amazon shoppers and has nothing to do with Amazon, the authors, manufacturers or publishers of the items we review. We always buy the items we review for the sake of objectivity, and although we search for gems, are not shy about trashing an item if it's a waste of time or money for Amazon shoppers. If the reviewer identifies herself, her job or her field, it is only as a point of reference to help you gauge the background and any biases.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Excellent book for someone that knows almost nothing of electronics, arduino and robots 19 April 2013
By G. Dombiak - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm still reading this book and it is super fun, easy and useful to read it. The writing style is so easy to read that it feels like a friend is telling you all these things in a very easy way. I'm a software engineer with very little knowledge of electronics and arduino. This book is perfect for me.

I even contacted the author to get the parts for building the robot in the book and he responded very quickly and with a very nice answer.

You cannot go wrong with this book.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Great guide to building Arduino robots with simple materials 25 April 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wanted to be able to build great robots for under $200. This book enables me to use rigid/foamed pvc as my primary structural material, and then build great Arduino robots around that. I have all of Gordon's other books too - but this one is focused on the Arduino and that's exactly what I wanted.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Lots of new stuff in this one 30 July 2013
By Joe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read a number of the Robot Bonanza editions, and this one definitely has some new material worth reading about the Arduino. There are some good Arduino robotics books out there but this is the best I've read. It also has some general robotics material at the beginning so even if you're new to hobby robotics you can get started.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
√ Used Arduino EXTENSIVELY in projects 13 Aug. 2014
By Bassocantor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is a very well-written, easy to read introduction to using the Arduino microprocessor system. This product has been making a HUGE splash among hobbyists in the last few years. There is a ton of literature out there, and many folks wanting to help lend a hand. So, choosing this technology is a good choice.

Although the title of the book suggests a somewhat narrow focus, ARDUINO ROBOT BONANZA is really an excellent introduction to the product, regardless of whether you will be making "robots" or not. That's because most of what you need to do will be similar, no matter what the final application. So, for instance, understanding how the interface works, or how the power supply works will be the same either way. Ditto on the excellent tips on the types of materials available. Here are some highlights of ARDUINO ROBOT BONANZA:

♦ There is a good discussion of the basics of Arduino technology.
♦ Excellent overview of each board and interface, both digital and analog.
♦ I especially like the "Under the Hood" section that explains how you actually develop your programs and hookup to the Arduino. ♦ On my Kindle, however, some of the photos and accompanying text is a bit tough, even when you enlarge the font.
♦ Good section on tools required, and even material, such as various plastics.
♦ Excellent illustrations of materials.
♦ An appendix called, "Parts Connection" contains an extensive list of sources for electronics and hardware.
♦ Actual book updates and support are available via the Robotoid web site.

Finally, speaking from personal experience, I should also note that our hobbyist group in Northern California have used Arduino technology extensively for producing small, interactive "Geocaches" in the San Francisco Bay Area. Programming is not a major problem, and one should not be concerned with programming. We have nothing but good experience with Arduino. Plus, we've learned a LOT.

In summary, a well-written and designed book to get the hobbyist up and running. Of course, not all the details can possibly be covered in this book. For that, consult the latest user forums and equipment links. To do justice to the illustrations and photos in this fine book, recommend reading on a tablet, rather than the much smaller Kindle.

√ Highly recommend this book!
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