Unofficial LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Inventor's Guide

by David J. Perdue

October 2007, 320 pp.
ISBN: 978-1-59327-154-1


Sorry, no ebook is available for this title. (Why not?)

Click here to view excerpts from "Chapter 4: Understanding the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Pieces" and "Chapter 14: Tag-Bot"

The LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT set includes a variety of powerful electronic parts (motors, sensors, and the programmable NXT microcomputer) and lots of building elements. With these parts you can create thousands of unique, intelligent robots. The Unofficial LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Inventor's Guide helps you to harness the capabilities of the NXT set and effectively plan, build, and program your own NXT robots.

The first part of the book contains a brief introduction to the NXT set. You'll then examine the pieces in the NXT set and the roles they play in construction. Next, you'll learn practical building techniques, like how to build sturdy structures and work with gears. Then it's time to learn how to program with the official NXT-G programming language (and learn a bit about several unofficial programming languages). You'll also learn what author David J. Perdue calls the MINDSTORMS method: a strategy for creating your own robots. Finally, you'll follow step-by-step instructions for building, programming, and testing six sample robots (all of which can be built using only the parts found in one NXT set). These six robots include:

  • Zippy-Bot, a two-wheeled vehicle with a ball caster
  • Bumper-Bot, a version of Zippy-Bot that explores your room and avoids objects
  • Claw-Bot, a version of Zippy-Bot that searches for objects and pushes them away with its claw
  • Tag-Bot, a four-wheeled steering vehicle that dashes around while you try to "tag" it with a flashlight
  • Guard-Bot, a six-legged walking robot that launches a ball at intruders
  • Golf-Bot, a stationary robot that finds a target and then hits a ball into the target

You'll also find an NXT-G Quick Reference, which provides information on the 30 types of standard programming blocks, and the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Piece Library, which features detailed information and images of the more than 80 types of LEGO pieces in the NXT set.

So go ahead. Grab your NXT set, fire up your creative mind, and see what you can invent with The Unofficial LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Inventor's Guide.

Be sure to visit the book's companion site ( and the sample videos at YouTube:

View two more complete robots in these videos: Guard-Bot on Patrol and Tag-Bot and the Great Escape

About the Author

David J. Perdue is the author of Competitive MINDSTORMS (Apress, 2004) and has written for BrickJournal. He has been inventing with MINDSTORMS since 2001 and has received three Special Mention awards for his creations on the official online MINDSTORMS invention gallery. He lives with his family in Round Rock, Texas, and maintains his website at

Table of Contents


Part I: Introduction to LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT
1. LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT: People, Places, and Potential
2. Getting Started with the NXT Set

Part II: Building
3. Understanding the Electronic Pieces
4. Understanding the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Pieces
5. Building Sturdy Structures
6. Building with Gears

Part III: Programming
7. Introduction to NXT-G
8. Advanced NXT-G Programming
9. Unofficial Programming Languages for the NXT

Part IV: Projects
10. The MINDSTORMS Method
11. Zippy-Bot
12. Bumper-Bot
13. Claw-Bot
15. Guard-Bot
16. Golf-Bot

App B: NXT-G Quick Reference
App C: Internet Resources



"With very solid how-tos, an awesome programming section as well as cool robots, the Inventor's Guide has a lot to offer both brand-new users as well as experienced builders. Best of all, the models described in the book use parts from a single LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT starter set, so you don't have to be a power user to get started building."
—GeekDad (Read More)

"This book is an excellent introduction to LEGO robotics and, frankly, is what should have come in the box with the NXT kit. If you want to learn about NXT robots, you need to get this book."
—Computing Unplugged (Read More)

"I recommend this book highly for its in-depth tutorials, the visual schematics and the quality of the reading that makes the information well understood. No one said building robots was easy but with this book, you will learn and go further than you thought you could achieve."
—MacCompanion Magazine (Read More)

"I was very pleased with the approach taken by this book, the diagrams/illustrations, and the overall tone taken. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to take their MINDSTORMS experience further."
—Arian Kulp (Read More)

"LEGOs, for me, have never been something to write about or something that could easily be discussed - they were about showing. With the evolution of LEGOs, the task of showing has become more difficult - but Mr. Perdue stood up to the task and performed so admirably that this book must not be left dormant on a shelf. That would be a sin... The only thing that I think could have made it better would have been it coming with the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT kit itself."
— (Read More)

"For [those] whose minds are racing with ideas and simply need the tools to equip themselves to fabricate their first LEGO warrior, David Perdue's NXT Inventor's Guide is a perfect starting point."
— (Read More)

"By making it easy and fun to learn robotics, Perdue's book should be a useful addition to getting the most out of your Mindstorms NXT kit. And even for those who don't own the $250 kit, reading this book (for an affordable $30) should provide a comprehensive introduction to the product. If you then decide to purchase the kit, you'll already have a great reference tool."
—Inventor Spot (Read More)

"Perdue takes you step by step into the Mindstorms NXT's rich, fascinating little world of pegs, gears, and electronic parts."
—The Boston Globe Online (Read More)



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