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Build and Program Your Own LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Robots

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Build and Program Your Own LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Robots

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  • Copyright 2015
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/8"
  • Edition: 1st
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-351824-8
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-351824-5

Build and Program Your Own LEGO®  MINDSTORMS® 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 motors…engineering 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® robotics community

Marziah Karch is Senior Instructional Designer at NWEA, a Google Expert at About.com, 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® Group.

Sample Content

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

    DINOR3X 335


    EV3D4 337

    EV3MEG 338

    MR B3AM 339

    KRAZ3 340

    RAC3R 341

    EV3GAME 342

    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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