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Raspberry Pi Robotics Projects [Paperback]

Dr Richard Grimmett
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

21 Feb 2014 184969432X 978-1849694322

Create amazing robotic projects on a shoestring budget


  • Make your projects talk and understand speech with Raspberry Pi
  • Use standard webcam to make your projects see and enhance vision capabilities
  • Full of simple, easy-to-understand instructions to bring your Raspberry Pi online for developing robotics projects

In Detail

Robotics development is accelerating, and an amazing array of new hardware and software capabilities are available to anyone with an interest in the area. Robots will soon be a part of our everyday life, and it will soon be as important to know how they work as it is to know how a computer works. Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized, fully capable PC that can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, such as spreadsheets, word processing, and games.

This book starts with the essentials of turning on the basic hardware. It provides the capability to interpret your commands and have your robot initiate actions. By the time you are through, you’ll have robots that can speak, listen, and move in a number of amazing ways.

This book is a step-by-step projects guide to unlocking some complex and interesting capabilities of Raspberry Pi. Teaching you to use Raspberry Pi from scratch, this book will discuss a wide range of capabilities that can be achieved with it. These capabilities include voice recognition, human-like speech simulation, computer vision, motor control, GPS location, and wireless control. You will then learn how to combine these capabilities to create your own robotics projects.

By the time you have completed this book, you will be able to use Raspberry Pi to create some complex and fascinating robotics projects with a vast array of capabilities.

What you will learn from this book

  • Unbox, power-up, and configure Raspberry Pi with Ubuntu, a powerful version of Linux
  • Exercise vision control in your projects to distinguish colors, patterns, or movements
  • Apply and control speech software to enable your projects to speak
  • Discover external hardware to enable your robotics projects to move
  • Create complex robotics projects that can move, swim, or even fly
  • Interact with your projects wirelessly so that they can be truly autonomous


This book is for enthusiasts who want to use Raspberry Pi to build complex robotics projects. However, some programming background is recommended. With the aid of the step-by-step instructions in this book, you can construct complex robotics projects that can move, talk, listen, see, swim, or fly.

Who this book is written for

Raspberry Pi Robotics Projects is an easy-to-follow, step-by-step projects guide packed full of examples of actual robotics projects. Each topic is explained in detail to make it easy to replicate the projects described.

Frequently Bought Together

Raspberry Pi Robotics Projects + Python Programming for Raspberry Pi - Sams Teach Yourself in 24 Hours
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Product details

  • Paperback: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Packt Publishing (21 Feb 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184969432X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849694322
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 19 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 238,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Richard Grimmett

Richard Grimmett has been fascinated by computers and electronics from his very first programming project, which used Fortran on punch cards. He has a bachelor's and master's degree in electrical engineering and a PhD in leadership studies. He also has 26 years of experience in the radar and telecommunications industries (he even has one of the original brick phones). He now teaches computer science and electrical engineering at Brigham Young University - Idaho, where his office is filled with his many robotic projects. He recently completed a book on using BeagleBone Black for robotic projects, and is now excited to release this title for those who prefer Raspberry Pi.

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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Format:Kindle Edition
First the points:
The introductory chapter is not a complete waste of space unlike in some books. You are shown the necessary tools, and taught the required things needed to succeed with the book. Just one chapter. Not half of the book. Good so far.
The second chapter gets straight into introducing programming in Python and then very briefly touches the basics of C/C++. There's not really enough C/C++ info to get you properly going if you haven't used it before, but some websites are suggested for review which should help. Python examples are good for learning the language, and each line of code is explained, but:-
Each program listing contains an explanation of statement(s) which have already been explained in a previous listing, which is unnecessary and wasting printed paper for no good reason. For example, almost every listing explains what "#!/usr/bin/python" means. You really only need to be told once, maybe twice. It's actually harder to remember the format of the statement, than what it actually does.
From the third chapter, each chapter introduces a project and takes you through how to put it together, and often makes suggestions of ways to improve it. The following chapters build upon the previous ones, getting more complex the further you go, imparting new skills and ideas.
The subtitle of the book, "Create amazing robotic projects on a shoestring budget", is not accurate in my opinion, as completing most of the projects in the book will necessitate purchasing of quite a lot of hardware, some of which is not exactly cheap.
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Amazon.com: 2.7 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Kindle Edition has errors that could be fixed with an update. 1 April 2014
By Greg Bushta - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Typographical errors in programming examples should be corrected. I attempted to contact the publisher with the email address provided in the book (feedback@packtpub.com) but it bounced. A book teaching should not have errors. At least the provided email address should be good. I quit buying SAMS manuals because of the errors. I won't finish reading this book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good as an overview for Robotic projects 29 Jun 2014
By Jack Creasey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I must admit to being a little conflicted over the value of this book. The author (and reviewers) seem to have impeccable credentials in terms of relevant experience and knowledge transfer skills. I expected great things of the book when I read the table of contents, but was disappointed by the content delivery, scope, depth and number of errors. (As another reviewer so aptly pointed out, the author could fix the errors in the Kindle version)

Is it worth buying....yes, (and definitely yes if you buy the Kindle version at $17 or the PACKT pdf version at only $10).....but if you are a newbie to Raspberry Pi and are not already reasonably well exposed to the Linux variant installed it may be very hard work for you. Overall it's good value as a quick introduction to advanced Open Source software that is readily available, and definitely worthwhile if you are considering a wheeled robot with vision and sound capability as it will give you some great ideas and heads up pointers. However there is no hand holding in this book, a quick introduction to most things and a great deal of persistence and further research provided by you.

Given that the book's target audience is using an extremely low cost hobby and educational computer, one can assume that many of the readers will be entry level robotic developers looking for help to get a project started. However the book delivers just snapshots of software installations with very little educational value, and a lot of work left to the reader to fill in.
Make sure you have an 8GB SD card as you can easily end up with a 4-5GB Wheezy installation. Given the size and complexity of this installation overall, it's disappointing that the author didn't produce a set of install scripts to aid in assembling and testing the software.

Here's how I rated the Chapters:

Chapt 1. Hooking up your `Pi. - Poor coverage
One of the most challenging things for new users is getting the `Pi powered correctly and reliable. There is a lot of information on the web covering newbie problems, so obviously this needs to be covered well. Initially the author suggests powering the bare `Pi from a PC port as an option instead of a USB power supply. This will work, but as you start to connect peripherals you can easily exceed the rating of the PC USB port, or end up with marginal voltage (because of the Polyfuse) and a non-reliable `Pi computer.
My suggestion to anyone building a `Pi is to use a good USB hub with charging ports or a separate USB power supply rated above 1A. I use the Amazon Basics 7 port USB hub which has two 1.2A ports, this can power your `Pi and offload all the USB peripherals to the Hub with only a single wall wart.
The section on building your SD card is passable, but for experimentation I'd suggest you use BerryBoot which allows multiple bootable copies of the OS's, you can find installation methods on the web.
The author shows a nice Windows utility called Advanced IP scanner....a handy tool, but don't lose sight of the fact that this information may already be available to you as a network map from your WiFi Access point (which most folks will already have). For example Netgear Genie provides a great network map, and many other do too.

Chapt 2 Programming your Pi - Mostly ok introductory stuff
Introduces some Linux commands, but I'd suggest you go do some web based Raspbian courses if you need this level of help. Introduces 5 text/program editors (why?) but has you install Emacs and edit a couple of introductory Python programs.
You then move on to create a couple of simple C programs and compile them.

Chapt 3 Speech I/O - Good introduction to sound apps but poor presentation
You need to buy a cheap USB sound I/O device and a speaker and mic, there are plenty on Amazon and Ebay. I used a USB Logitec headphone/mic and it worked great for me. One problem I initially experienced is that plugging the USB headset into the USB hub normal ports gave me distorted sound until I used one of the two high current ports in the hub or plugged directly into the Pi.
You load Espeak to do the sound manipulation. Nice intro to the package, well explained though I had to add -stdout|aplay to get rid of errors in my installation.
You then load PockectSphinx to add speech recognition.
Note: You can't install Firefox on Raspberry Pi, you have to use Iceweasel.
I do think they could have done much more handholding here as many will be using different sound/mic devices. I spent hours tracking down differences online. In complex software make/installs like this nothing works better than good clear and concise instructions.

Chapt 4 Vision for the Pi - Disappointing
Install guvcview and OpenCV, this begins as a well documented and easy to follow procedure. Then the author completely misses building and installing OpenCV. Go here for a great install procedure: Go to Youtube and search for jvFM-gIGpQQ (Amazon strips web links out) Once you have OpenCV installed the rest of the chapter is fairly good.

Chapt 5 & Chapt 6 Wheeled and Legged Robots - Good introductory material
Focused on the drivers and servos the author purchased, but a good overall description of one set of platforms and drivers. Completely misses any discussion around the power requirements of these platforms or any issues it might cause in a mobile platform when powering the robot and `Pi.
Does give you plenty of ideas around introducing voice and video additions to the platforms. But no mention of the cost of the platforms, and I think many would have appreciated a discussion on low cost versus high cost options.

Chapt 7 Obstacle Avoidance - Great general purpose introduction
Focused on the drivers and sensors the author purchased, but a good general description.

Chapt 8 Going remote control - Good overall introductory material
A mixed bag, but overall quite well presented.

Chapt 9 Adding GPS - Good general introduction
Nicely done with an introduction to producing a map to show position, though aligning you navigation with the map is really left to you to research.

Chapt 10 System Dynamics - Excellent thoughtful presentation
Not many authors expose the problems associated with creating an overall architecture for implementation. This was well done though I do think the author could have gone much further by releasing a more advanced code framework for builders to utilize. There is lots of information on ROS, so there is plenty of support available.

Chat 11 Land, Water and Air Robots - Good general overview
A worthwhile collection of summary material, but not at more than overview depth.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book 23 Mar 2014
By Naz Hus - Published on Amazon.com
Covers what you would expect from a robotics books. As far as projects go it takes you through specific build stages of a robot instead of focusing on different types of builds, which i personally found useful to apply to other projects. I thought the last chapter was really good on ' Land, sea and Air'.

Overall, for people who learn by doing, this book will definitely hit the mark, it delivers good value with lots of interesting and stimulating build stages.
4.0 out of 5 stars BRIEF INTRODUCTION to Raspberry Pi Robotic Projects 27 July 2014
By Norbert Varga - Published on Amazon.com
As the title says, it's about learning using the RPI for various robotic projects. After reading it, I think the title should be modifed as BRIEF INTRODUCTION to Raspberry Pi Robotic Projects (yes, with capital letters) :)

The introduction to the RPI is very good, covers everything including how the hardware works, installing the OS, etc. It's followed by a short chapter on Python and C++ programming, but it's really really short, and I don't understand why the author chose C++ with all those pesky standard library functions. Otherwise, all the chapters are well-written and easily understandable. My biggest problem with the book was that the author assumed that the reader has a Windows PC, and he/she can run all those Windows-based tools. Surprisingly, the book covered not just how to build a moving, speaking, seeing robot, but also has a chapter on how to create a sailing or flying one.
4.0 out of 5 stars As many, I wanted this book for this simple question of my son : "Can we build a robot this summer"? 1 July 2014
By Enrique Meza C - Published on Amazon.com
As many, I wanted this book for this simple question of my son : "Can we build a robot this summer"?, this a entry level book,

as this statement, summarizes the objective of this book:

"Raspberry Pi Robotic Projects is an attempt to organize that set of information and make it available to a wide audience of possible robotics developers "

If you are looking to learn Raspberry Pi and robotics this book is for you, however

if you are a electronic engineer student you need a deeper objectives, is better to buy another book.

On chapter 3

Maybe mention Jasper will be a good point in this chapter,Jasper is an open source platform for developing always-on, voice-controlled applications

I think this book is good , good recopilation about robotics basis maybe all source code about all chapters should be great
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