Build and Program Your Own LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Robots

Build and Program Your Own LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Robots

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Build and Program Your Own LEGO (R) MINDSTORMS (R) EV3 Robots

Absolutely no experience needed! Build and program amazing robots with the new LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3!

With LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3, you can do modern robotics without complex wiring or soldering! This step-by-step, full-color tutorial teaches all you need to know, including basic programming skills most introductory guides skip. Even better-it's packed with hands-on projects!

Start by "unboxing" your new EV3 kit and getting to know every component: motors, sensors, connections, remotes, and the EV3's more powerful, easier-to-program "brick."

Then walk through building your first "bots"...creating more sophisticated robots with wheels and for strength and balance..."driving" your robot...building robots that recognize colors and do card tricks...and more!

LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 robotics is the perfect pathway into science and technology... and this book is the easiest way to get started, even if you have absolutely no robotics or programming experience!

Explore your new EV3 kit: both the retail "Home" and LEGO "Education" versions
Get foolproof help with building the Track3r and other standard robots
Build cars and tanks, and hack them to do even more
Write programs that enable your robots to make their own decisions
Improve your programs with feedback
Handle more sophisticated engineering and programming tasks
Troubleshoot problems that keep your robot from moving
Get involved with the worldwide MINDSTORMS (R) robotics community

Marziah Karch is Senior Instructional Designer at NWEA, a Google Expert at, and Senior Web Editor at GeekMom. She has more than a decade of experience in instructional technology and was senior educational technologist for Johnson County Community College, where she also taught interactive media development. She holds a master's degree in Instructional Design and Technology, and is pursuing a doctorate in Library and Information Science. Her hands-on technology experience ranges from 3D animation to multimedia learning, content management to music video creation. She has extensively explored the educational potential of LEGO robotics. She is the author of Android Tablets Made Simple.

This book is not authorized or endorsed by the LEGO (R) Group.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 181 x 231 x 13mm | 520g
  • Que Corporation,U.S.
  • United States
  • English
  • 0789751852
  • 9780789751850
  • 253,359

Table of contents


Chapter 1 What's In the Box? 1


The LEGO Family Tree 6


LEGO System Bricks 6

LEGO Technic 6

Core LEGO Units 7

Beams 8

Angled Beams 10

Beam Frames 12

Pegs 12

Axles 15

Bushings 16

Axle Connectors 17

Ball Joints 19

Gears 20

Parts with Flair 26

Wings 26

Spikes 27

Other Decorative Parts 28

The Brains and Brawn 30

EV3 Intelligent Brick 30

Servos 34

Sensors 35

Cables 37

Summary 40

Chapter 2 What's In the LEGO Education Box? 41

Storage Box 41

Color Scheme 44

Ball Caster 45

Tank Tracks 46

Rechargeable Battery Pack 47

Sensors 48

Touch Sensors 48

Gyro Sensor 49

Sonic Sensor 50

Gears 50

The Expansion Set 53

Extra Wheels 53

Extra Beam Frame Elements 54

Gears and Joints 59

Tank Cleats 65

Wings and Other Decorative Pieces 66

Summary 70

Chapter 3 Comparing the EV3 and NXT 71

The NXT Versus the NXT 2.0 Versus the EV3 71

The Brick 73

Sensor and Motor Connections 74

The Sides 76

Programming 77

Advanced and Alternative Programming Environments 78

Part Compatibility 80

Sensors 80

Motors 80

Batteries 80

Summary 81

Chapter 4 Building Your First Bots 83

Downloading Instructions 83

The EV3 Starter Robots 84

Track3r 85

R3ptar 91

Spik3r 93

Ev3rstorm 97

Gripp3r 102

Bonus Bots 106

Summary 107

Chapter 5 Building the LEGO Education Bots 109

Educator Vehicle 109

Gyro Boy 111

Color Sorter 114

Puppy 115

Arm 116

Expansion Models 116

The Elephant 117

Tank Bot 118

Znap 119

Remote Control 119

The Stair Climber 120

Color Spinner Factory 121

Summary 123

Chapter 6 Hacking What You Have 125

Project 1: The Car 125

Testing 131

Troubleshooting the Flaws 132

Project 2: Hack Your Tank 133

Project 3: Modify the Educator Bot 137

Modify the Design 139

Substitute for the Caster Ball 141

Summary 147

Chapter 7 Make Your First EV3 Program 149

About the LEGO Education Software 149

Getting Started 150

Navigating from the Lobby 150

Creating a New Project 152

Getting to Know the Programming Canvas 153

Program List 155

Select or Pan Button 155

Comment 156

Save, Undo, or Redo 156

Zoom 156

The Content Editor 156

The Programming Canvas, Blocks, and the Palette 158

The Connection Area 159

Writing Your First Program 159

Flowcharting 160

Dragging Blocks Onto the Programming Canvas 161

Changing Modes 162

Checking Your Ports 164

Making the Bot Move 165

Moving the Wheels 166

Controlling Bot Direction 167

Adjusting Motor Power and Speed 168

Adjusting Rotation Count 168

Connecting Your EV3 to Your Computer 169

Making Decisions and Using Loops 172

Saving Your Changes 178

Alternative Programs 179

Summary 179

Chapter 8 More MINDSTORMS Programming: The Line-Following Robot 181

What Is a Program? 181

Project: The Line-Following Robot 183

Getting Started 184

Making Your Own Test Track 185

Thinking About the Instructions 187

Finding Direction 188

Calibrating the Sensor 189

Creating the Program 194

Creating New Variables 194

Calculating with Variables 200

Improving the Program with Feedback 202

Troubleshooting Your Program 206

Adding a Countdown 209

Using a Loop to Make the Robot Follow the Line 211

Adding Switches for Steering 213

Creating Custom Blocks 216

Documenting Your Work 219

Summary 219

Chapter 9 Engineering the Floor-Cleaning Robot 221

Programming a Collision-Avoiding Robot 221

Activating the Touch Sensor 223

Adding Collision Avoidance 224

Testing Your Bot 227

Navigating Corners 228

Adding a Bit of Randomness 229

Using the Education Edition's Ultrasonic Sensor 232

Controlling Your Bot with the Infrared Remote 235

Programming the Remote 236

Creating Multi-threaded Programs 241

Adding the Floor-Cleaning Functions 245

Building the Mophead Assembly 246

Adjusting the Sensor Assembly 250

Building the Floor Cleaning Program 253

Summary 256

Chapter 10 The Color Magic Card Trick 257

Brainstorming and Building the Bot 258

Building the Platform 261

Raising the Platform 265

Building the Wheel Assembly 267

Checking the Assembly 269

Placing the Intelligent Brick 270

Controlling the Cards 272

Calibrating the Color Sensor 280

Creating the Program 282

Detecting the Color 284

Playing the Sound 287

Adding the Motor Block 288

Summary 289

Chapter 11 Daisy-Chaining Projects 291

The Daisy-Chain Test 291

Numbering Your Bricks 292

Programming the Test 295

Building a Daisy-Chained Robot Car 297

Assembling the Wheels 297

Programming the Bot 307

Adding a Remote Control 309

Adding Collision Avoidance 317

Messaging Between Robots 320

Adding "Magic" to the Card Trick 321

Configuring the Sending Program 321

Configuring the Receiving Program 323

Running the "Magic" 325

Summary 325

Chapter 12 Extending Play 327

Installing leJOS 327

Preparing Your Desktop 328

Loading the SD Card 330

Working in LeJOS 333

Community-Created Models 334



EV3D4 337

EV3MEG 338

MR B3AM 339

KRAZ3 340

RAC3R 341


WACK3M 344


Finding More Communities 345

Scoring Extra LEGO Parts 346

Tetrix 346

K'nex 346

Erector Sets 346

3D Printers 346

Robotics Competitions 347

First Robotics LEGO League 347

World Robot Olympiad 347

4-H 347

Decorating Your EV3 348

Summary 348

Appendix: Glossary 349

Index 363
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About Marziah Karch

Marziah Karch enjoys the challenge of explaining new gadgets and complex technology to beginning audiences. She is the author of several books, including Android Tablets Made Simple. Her writing has appeared in Wired magazine,, and the GeekMom blog

on Marziah is a senior instructional designer for NWEA in Portland, Oregon. She holds a master's degree in Instructional Design and is working on a Ph.D. in Library and Information Management. When she's not feeding her geek side with new gadgets or writing about technology, Marziah enjoys life in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two children, all of whom are LEGO enthusiasts.
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