Books: Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots

If the feature in the February 2004 edition of PC World on building robots whetted your appetite for creating your own electronic beasties, Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots has been written for you!

The cover promises that no prior robot building is necessary and the book aims to live up to this claim by giving heaps of instruction on the evolution of robots, what you’ll need and what you should look out for when building one. Lots of tip boxes provide useful asides as well as timely warnings like wearing safety goggles when cutting plastic.

You may want to rush straight into the projects but it’s worth reading through the earlier chapters to get the proper grounding you’ll need to ensure your robot becomes reality. There’s a good section, for example, on setting up a toolbox — with explanations of the required gear and what you’ll need it for — and a robot workshop. As an example of the welcome approach of this book, the tools are broken down into must-haves, should-haves, and make-life-easier tools. This way, you can build your kit as your enthusiasm and experience grows.

Once you get past these basics, it’s on to the projects. While you won’t exactly create the walking, talking robot of your dreams with this guide, the projects helpfully use old stuff you may have lying around — like coat hangers and superseded mice.

The book specifies parts from a Canada-based online electronics store so you may have to hunt around for gear locally. Similarly, the guide to robot hardware and software lists only North American stores. The book and Web site recommendations will be more useful.

Author: Gareth Branwyn
Publisher: Que (Pearson Education)
ISBN: 0789729717
Price: $39.95
Phone: (02) 9454 2222
URL: www.pearsoned.com.au

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Deanne McIntosh

PC World
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