An Unofficial, Kid-Friendly Guide to Building Animals with the NXT Robotics System
by Fay Rhodes

February 2008, 336 pp.
ISBN: 978-1-59327-170-1
Contents | Reviews | Updates

Whether you're just beginning with your LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT set or are already an expert, you'll have hours of fun with these animal-like models that walk, crawl, hop, and roll!

The first part of the book introduces you to the NXT kit and reviews the parts you'll need in order to begin building. Next, you'll learn how to program with the NXT-G programming language, including how to make miniprograms called My Blocks that you can use to build larger programs. Finally, you'll learn how to build each robot and program it to act like its real animal cousins.

Learn to build and program the following robots:

  • Ribbit, a jumping frog
  • Bunny, a hopping rabbit
  • Sandy, a walking camel
  • Spiderbot, an eight-legged spider that avoids objects and walks forward and backward
  • Snout, a walking alligator that opens and closes its jaws
  • LEGOsaurus, a four-legged, plodding dinosaur
  • Pygmy, a walking elephant that raises and lowers its head
  • Polecat, a skunk on wheels that lifts its tail and shoots "darts"
  • Strutter, a peacock on wheels that turns and flutters its tail feathers

Troubleshooting tips help you avoid problems like misarranged gears and incorrect programming, while a list of Internet resources is included to help guide you in further exploration with the NXT. Teachers and home educators will appreciate an appendix with helpful suggestions for using the models in the classroom.

The models in this book have been tested repeatedly &mdash and built successfully &mdash by novice builders, so all you have to do is follow the directions and watch them go. Now, let the building begin!

About the Author

Fay Rhodes is co-author of The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Idea Book (No Starch), a 2008 member of LEGO's MINDSTORMS Community Partners (MCP), and the only female contributor to the NXT Step Blog.

NXT Peacock from The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Zoo! on Vimeo.

Take a look at the NXT Gator, NXT Skunk, and NXT Spider in action!

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 The Right Stuff: Do You Have What It Takes to Build "Living" Robots?
Chapter 2 The Zookeeper's Guide: What You Need to Know to Create Animals in the NXT Zoo
Chapter 3 Hip-Hoppers: An NXT Frog and Rabbit
Chapter 4 Sandy: An NXT Camel
Chapter 5 Spiderbot: An NXT Spider
Chapter 6 Snout: An NXT 'gator
Chapter 7 LEGOsaurus: An NXT Dinosaur
Chapter 8 Pygmy: An NXT Elephant
Chapter 9 Polecat: An NXT Skunk
Chapter 10 Strutter: An NXT Peacock
Appendix A Enrichment Ideas for Teachers
Appendix B Troubleshooting
Appendix C Web Resources for the NXT

View the detailed Table of Contents (PDF)

View the Index (PDF)



"Even if you never build a single one of these models, you'll get a lot out of the book."
—GeekDad (Read More)

"I would recommend The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT ZOO! for any NXT builder. The robots are simple to build, the instructions are easy to follow, the programs are quick to write and they work."
—The Brothers Brick (Read More)

"A straight forward, easy to understand, introduction to the MINDSTORMS NXT kits for young minds."
—MacCompanion (Read More)

Read an interview with Fay Rhodes about her book on NicheMediaBlog