LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT One-Kit Wonder is a fantastic book with step-by-step instructions for ten new robotic inventions that can be built with one LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT kit.
Ease of Use, Performance: 23/25
Look & Feel: 23/25
How much I enjoy 24/25
LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT One-Kit Wonders is a complete step by step instruction book for ten totally different robotic inventions complete with programming guide. The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT One-Kit Wonders is written by James Floyd Kelly, Matthias Paul Scholz, Christopher R. Smith, Martijn Boogaarts, Jonathan A. Daudelin, Eric D. Burdo, Laurens Valk, Blue ToothKiwi and Fay Rhodes.
The authors comprise a group of LEGO enthusiasts with plenty of experience not only in LEGO’s but in engineering and publishing with several of the authors creating The NXT Step blog. The book is a simple but detailed step by step guide to creating a wide variety of robots from a single NXT kit that make up a broad range of uses and abilities.
Unlike other books I have seen these are ten totally different robots built from the ground up as opposed to a few alterations in one robot to make a different one. For changes or further experimentation they have given hints and tips at the end of each robot section for further altering the robot for different uses or study.
Each robot has simple to follow instructions giving which pieces are being used and then how to assemble them for each step as well as not going so fast with so many pieces in each step to keep things simple. I found they use so few pieces on each step that it helped a lot in not only understanding and seeing where each piece went that it also made for simple building without using too many pieces at once.
If a piece does not clearly show in the pictures they have circled it for easy reference so you have a large circle on the part that you may not have seen. This means they went to great lengths to make sure you could see and follow the step by step building pictures to create each robotic invention.
Once your model is complete they also have very important step by step instructions for connecting the robotic sensors and motors to the NXT block with simple terms that are understandable. For instance on my SPC or Self Parking Car it tells you to look at the last building step and see the motor on the left which they refer to as the steering motor. This motor will connect to the NXT Block slot B and the motor on the right, driving motor, connects to connection A.
Its these simple to follow directions that show they are a group of people that not only know how to design and build the robots but also how to tell us less than technically capable people how to build it for ourselves. They also have simple explanations for each design block in the programming section so you not only can see what each block does but understand the what and why of it.
This helpful explanation shows you what your robot is doing and why it is doing it so you can get the basic as well as in depth understanding of the robot and its functions through an actual understanding of the programs that make it work. The programs can be quite simple to follow but you should use care and go over the entire program once so you are sure you have all the settings for each block correct.
They use short block sections of less than six blocks so you can see the program blocks clearly and there are not too many blocks to program on each page of the instructions as well. This is more important here in the programming section than in the building section and they have kept things short and simple for easy programming so you have less chance of errors.
Of course they do not go much into depth about troubleshooting a non functioning robot and simply retracing the steps of the programming blocks will find out where you put in information that is wrong. I found I had missed a couple of settings and it was obvious from the start where I had gone wrong but a little common sense or retracing the programming would have spotted the setting corrections needed.
With the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT One-Kit Wonders book there is one correction that they may not mention in the website where you buy the book but it can be found at the NXT Step blog forum. Simply add the one programming block for the SPC Car that is missing and you will easily get it working correctly if you were unaware that a picture was missing.
In any other book this would have been a simple spelling error or missing picture but here it is an important setting picture for the program so you do need to get the setting picture if you are going to create the Self Parking Car. Other than this one missing picture there are no errors in the book that anyone has found and plenty of people have been using and complementing the book and its authors.
The step by step nature of the book means it is a lot of pictures and is really easy to follow, only a couple of pages in building the two robots that I did completely had pictures that I had to really look at closely. Most of the places that I would have had problems had the big circles showing the additions of smaller parts but I think they missed a couple of other places as well that should have been highlighted.
The NXT One-Kit Wonders does a great job of giving you ten separate projects in robotics with very different types of inventions for some fun experiments. They include the Candy Picker, Punch Bot, M&M Sorter, NXT Dragster, BobBot, RoboLock, The Hand, the Self Parking Car GrabBot and the Bike.
Most of the robots are just what they sound like but they all are different enough that they use and have a very different setup to them so they are not all just variations of each other or anything like that. The dragster for instance is made and programmed so it races much like a drag car with sensors to keep it on a track made from black tape.
The dragster will race down the track but first it will perform its staging when the person sets the car down and presses the program button. The program will drive the car to the start line you tape down on the floor and wait till it runs through a race count down and then races through a twenty foot drag strip area. The dragster will then stop racing when it crosses the finish line and you can check the time that was recorded on the NXT for the race from crossing the start line to the finish line.
The book explains all this and shows you how to tape down the track and the type of tape and area needed for this experiment and invention. The book goes into depth about further areas to explore for each invention with some very short and simple ideas to a few that are up to a page in detail.
The ten robots are a good starting point for creating robotics and inventions using the NXT kit and add a lot to the growing ideas behind the NXT robotics kits. The One-Kit Wonders book is a great addition to the NXT kit and well worth the cost of the book and then some with a great new set of robots to build.
The NXT Step blog is a great place to get even more ideas and further information about robotics and building things with the LEGO MINDTSTORMS NXT kits. I highly recommend the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT One-Kit Wonder book for a fantastic step by step guide for building ten new robots from the retail kit of the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT.