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Instant LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 [Paperback]

Gary Garber
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

25 Sep 2013

Your guide to building and programming your very own advanced robot using LEGO Mindstorm EV3


  • Step-by-step instructions that will help you to build and program your own robot
  • Utilize all the sensors in the EV3 kit
  • Write programs with all of the essential programming commands

In Detail

LEGO MINDSTORMS is more than just a toy. With a multitude of gears, pins, and beams, you can build fantastic, complex designs. The programming brick is Linux-based, and with dozens of available sensors, it allows you to make incredibly sophisticated robots. Instant LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 goes beyond the example projects that come with the box and helps you to produce a more advanced and functional robot.

"Instant LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3" is a practical guide that shows you how to advance from the basic lessons included in your EV3 kit, combine core programming commands, and implement tested design principles when building your robot. You will build a basic robot and download a program to make the robot move. You will also write several increasingly complex programs to add functionality to the robot and use a proportional algorithm to track a line with an optical sensor.

"Instant LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3" will teach you how to make a LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 robot that can navigate and interact with its environment using sensors. You will first be guided through how to make your robot interact with its environment using touch sensors. You will then program the robot to navigate and change direction using a gyro sensor. Next, using a proportional algorithm, your robot will maintain a given distance to a stationary or moving object. You will then be shown how to change parameters using on-board buttons and finally how to use an optical sensor to track a line. "Instant LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3" is full of step-by-step instructions and illustrations designed to help you build a robot with ease.

What you will learn from this book

  • Design a robot for optimum navigation and place sensors for optimal calibration
  • Account for weight and balance issues in your design
  • Write programs in a visual programming language and tweak your code visually using MyBlock subroutines
  • Calibrate the sensors using buttons on the robot
  • Utilize loops, case structures, calculations, variables, and arrays


A concise guide full of step-by-step recipes to teach you how to build and program an advanced robot.

Who this book is written for

"Instant LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3" is for both the adult tinkerer who has never touched LEGO before and the experienced LEGO engineer who has evolved from MINDSTORMS NXT to EV3. If you are interested in entering or advising students in robot competitions such as the FIRST LEGO League, the Wold Robot Olympiad, or RoboGames, then this book is a must for you. Even if you haven’t purchased your MINDSTORMS EV3 kit yet, this book will give you a good introduction to the platform.

Frequently Bought Together

Instant LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 + The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Laboratory: Build, Program, and Experiment with Five Wicked Cool Robots! + LEGO Mindstorms 31313: EV3
Price For All Three: £237.16

Buy the selected items together

Product details

  • Paperback: 82 pages
  • Publisher: Packt Publishing (25 Sep 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849519749
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849519748
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 18.6 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 278,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Gary Garber

Gary Garber teaches physics, math, and engineering at Boston University Academy. Gary is the Past-President of the New England Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers, and has led dozens of professional development workshops in education, on both the local and national level. Gary runs the Boston University FIRST Robotics program. He has run and hosted numerous robotics workshops in VEX, Tetrix, and LEGO platforms. He has also run several LEGO robotics tournaments and spoken on robotics education at both local and national conferences. His robotics team has worked with Engineers Without Borders, NASA, and the National Science Teachers Association on a variety of engineering and education projects. He is currently an educational consultant, working to develop new software tools for the classroom, at the Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach, which is a pioneer in LEGO Robotics Education. He currently resides in Massachusetts, US and when he is not playing with LEGOS, robots, or toy trains, he enjoys spending time with his wife Catalina, and their two children, Alejandro and Leonardo.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but aimed at the education EV3 pack 8 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good book but it's aimed at the education version of mind storms EV3 which has a few different parts, rather than the retail version. It doesn't say this in the description
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4.0 out of 5 stars Efficient delivery 12 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Quite stimulating to assemble parts. It is dynamic to make into different models. But no charging battery detail before sale.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.6 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
48 of 54 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Complete waste of money and major disappointment 13 Oct 2013
By David Weissman - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was so excited to finally buy a book about my newly purchased Mindstorms EV3 kit, and finally get some understanding about how to program it, only to find out that I didn't have the right LEGO KIT!!!

Yes, this is a warning to all readers out there: If you bought the retail home version of the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Kit (i.e., the one sold here on Amazon and basically every LEGO store, toy store, department store and every other website on the internet), then this book is NOT FOR YOU. In order to build and program the robots in this particularly useless book, you must be have the Education version of the Mindstorms EV3 Kit, which is only sold to schools and educators. Now, why this guy would not (a) explain this on the cover and all information available about his book, and (b) consider building robots in the book which could be built using EITHER version of the EV3 kit, I have no idea. I think he is either oblivious to the fact that there is a retail version out there and it is the only version available to the general public, or he simply doesn't care about any of his potential readers who are not students or educators at this particular time.

Bottom line: Wait for another author to write a book in the future, or buy the education version of the EV3 kit FIRST. Otherwise, prepare for some major frustration.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good step by step introduction of EV3 Education set programming 13 Nov 2013
By +++ - Published on
First of all, as many of us know, and as it already was pointed out by other reviewers, Lego offers two versions of EV3: "Retail" and "Education" sets. Both are accessible to general public, but through different distribution channels. I have opted to order the Education version for my son because it comes with MUCH more professionally looking software, the robots in Education version look like robots and not like scary monsters, and there is an option of extension set which enables on to build even more sophisticated robots. Retail and Education sets contain the same core EV3 brick but different plastic bricks, so robots are not quite interchangeable. The books also work only with either one or other set. This specific book requires the Education set (45544), sold only directly through Lego Education web site. The owners of the Education version should be happy that this book came out. My son and I found that this book offers a lot of good information on increasingly different programming concepts. It contains a healthy mix of instructions how to build an educational robot (a little more ugly than the standard one, but this is OK for the purpose of training) and guidance and examples how to program it to achieve different tasks. Since there are so many versions of programs in the book, I found that this stimulated my son's desire to experiment and to create his own versions of the program to make robot do different things. He made a lot of progress while working with this book.

If you wonder why this book can't be used with Retail kit: the key difference is that it utilizes ultrasonic and gyro sensors which are available for purchase separately but not included in the Retail kit. There may be also be some issues with availability of bricks necessary to follow the instructions in the book, but even if some of them are not included in the Retail set, this would not be a big issue since one can find creative workarounds with the parts available. Sensors is the key difference which makes this book kit-specific. Ultrasonic sensor can be replaced with infrared, but there is no replacement for the gyro sensor.

This book is also available on Kindle (if you have a color Kindle, e-book is in full color). The paper version appears to be black and white. I had a concern that black and white images would be more difficult to follow when it comes to finding the right bricks and programming, so I ended up getting the e-version and I can confirm that the book is perfectly readable on the Kindle. The publisher also offers PDF (and ePub) formats through their site.

Currently, there are only three books on Lego Mindstorms EV3 on the market, this one and a fairly pricey, but beautifully printed in full color "Classroom Activities for the Busy Teacher: EV3" which cover the Education set, and "The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Laboratory: Build, Program, and Experiment with Five Wicked Cool Robots!" which covers the retail set. All three seems to be good, solid books, which offer complementary information on EV3 and help kids with getting up to speed.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too Instant 6 Oct 2013
By Luv2Teach - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
This book covers some intermediate/advanced features which is exactly what I was looking for. The problem was that it was not detailed enough. The images were difficult to understand where the wirings and set up were concerned. Blocks were all over the place making it difficult to follow (ie. gyro sensor example). I know that EV3 is a little different in terms of structure when compared to NXT but if you are stemming away from the familiar, it would help if the graphics were larger and clearer so that it is easier to see what is connected to what OR provide the support code.
17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars MADE FOR SET# 45544 NOT #31313 9 Oct 2013
By Marc Andre Bazergui - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Not sure I can trust a book that starts off with naming the product wrong. :( It's LEGO MINDSTORMS not Mindstorm
((edit: They corrected the cover page title since then))

Also be aware that this book if for those who have the EV3 Education set!! (teachers and students, mainly the set found in schools)
If you get/have the 31313 Retail Set (the blue box on sale here on Amazon) you will NOT be able to build the robots in this book as you will be missing the fat tires, gyro sensor, etc...
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good intro for the educational kit 5 Dec 2013
By 08milluz - Published on
Instant LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 is a good introduction to the educational version of the EV3. The book is great for teachers who are looking to integrate robotics into their classroom. Topics range from building a simple robot, to creating a proportional line follower.

Garber refers to the various segments of the book as ‘recipes’ and that really is a good name for them. Each section breaks down into steps, along with CAD renderings or screenshots. This makes for a good tutorial as it is easy to follow. Be it good or bad, you don’t need to read most of the book. The images are enough to know what is going on.

I would recommend this book for anyone, but with the focus on the educational kit, it is really best suited for teachers (or students who have access to an educational kit at school). Unlike the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT, EV3’s educational kit is quite different from the retail kit. The educational kit contains different sensors (ultrasonic instead of IR, no IR remote, and a gyro sensor), software (the educational software directly supports these sensor differences and includes data logging), and finally different parts (most notably the caster ball, pictured right).

One down side is that it is very quick tutorials. This does not go into super depth, but if you are looking to just get up and running and then explore for yourself, then this book is might be a good option.
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