The LEGO MINDSTORMS Robotics Invention System is quite a remarkable toy. Like all of its LEGO predecessors, a MINDSTORMS creation snaps together with ease. What makes MINDSTORMS unique is LEGO's programmable brick - the RCX - which serves as the brains within your robot. The vast possibilities of a Mindstorms set, however, can be a bit daunting. Perhaps you're already familiar with gears and pulleys, but have never written a computer program before. Or perhaps you are an experienced programmer but don't know the first thing about gear ratios. Perhaps you're just looking for a few new ideas to try out with your Mindstorms set. Whatever your background and experience, this book should prove to be an interesting read.
Actually, its not really a book to be read. Its a book to be played with. There is ample discussion of the fundamentals (both mechanical and programming), but the book quickly moves onto building robots. 14 different robots are presented, some of which have several variations in program or design. Many of the robots take the form of vehicles, although there are also a few stationary ones such as the Vending Machine, or Roboarm. Sample programs for all robots are provided in both LEGO's RCX Code as well as NQC. RCX Code provides an easy way for those new to programming to jump right in and start creating robots. NQC allows the development of more powerful programs and tends to be the preferred solution for advanced users.
Note - some of the projects in the book require extra parts not found in the Robotics Invention System sets. See this page for details.