Street Tech Labs, Makers of Street Tech and Other Fine "Sucks-Less" Tech Media Products, Presents:
Absolute Beginner's Guide to Building Robots by Gareth Branwyn
[The Support Website]
The purpose of my book is to lead readers as painlessly as possible into the often intimidating world of robots, from those being dreamt up in University labs, to bots built for the factory floor, to those being cobbled together in hobbyists' garages. My 1997 book Jamming the Media was about my involvement in do-it-yourself (DIY) desktop media publishing and how it was changing the whole face of media production and distribution. It was a way of looking at the subject in general through my own personal experiences. This book takes a similar approach, but here the subject is robots, especially how bottom-up bot development (swarm bots, "dumb" bots, BEAMbots, competition robots, amateur bots) is changing the world of robotics. To get the readers' end effectors oily, the book also includes three DIY robot building projects that illustrate key principles in robotics today.
Absolute Beginner's Guide to Building Robots is divided into three parts:
PART I: Robot.edu serves as a crash course in robot history, basic robot sciences, the various schools of thought driving robot evolution, and more. Thisis not only here to give you some background, but also to give you some conceptual tools for how to think about robots as you begin to build bots yourself.
PART II: Gettin' Dirty with It is where you start putting greasy thumbprints all over the book. We run through all of the basic tools, supplies, materials, and techniques used in basic robot building, review kits and building systems, and offer a number of quick tutorials on need-to-know subjects. We call these Thumbnail Guides. We also present three building projects that increase in level of difficulty, from a simple one-motor walking machine to a programmable robot platform you can use for many experiments beyond what's covered in this book.
PART III: Resources is not just a two-dimensional listing of books, websites, and so forth, but substantive reviews of the best material out there related to robots. There is a revolution in DIY robotics going on, with thousands of amateurs (and professionals) collaborating and sharing their work over the Internet. We plug you directly into the heart of all this activity. (Don't mention it. It's what we live for.)
I wrote this book because I'm endlessly fascinated by robots and wanted to share some of what I've learned over the years. I hope you have fun with it and end up sharing some of my passion for the subject. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions related to the book (or this site), please don't hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can post to the Building Robots forum on Shop Talk, Street Tech's conferencing area. Stop by and join in the fun.
* Lots of new stuff on the Mousey pages, including an in-depth FAQ. Also: Come to the Bay Area Maker Faire (May 18 & 19, 2007) where I'll be running Mousey building workshops.
*IMPORTANT NOTE: There are critical fixes in the project Bug Reports and in discussions on the Street Tech Building Robots conference (especially in the "Projects" topic). You MUST read these before building the bots to avoid any problems.
* Critical correction made to DiscRover's Bug Report on improper labeling of Motor Controller pin-out diagram in book.
* Additions to the Coat Hanger Walker's Bug Report page.
*Improved Control Code for the DiscRover, using OOPic "Virtual Circuits"
*Complete instructions for building Mousey the Junkbot, free from Make magazine, Vol. 2. (link to PDF file).
* Important correction made to Mousey's Bug Report (a mistake was found in the book's Mousey circuit diagram). Read before wiring up this project!
* An entire chapter from my book (Chapter 3: Robot's Rules of Order) is now available on InformIT.
* Book FAQ file added to the Robot Building forum on Shop Talk.
* Parts lists (w/ vendor URLS) in the "Projects" topic on the Robot Building forum on Shop Talk.
* My book! You can now order it from Amazon.
* This website! (Launched Sept 29, 2003)
* New Street Tech topic area on Robot News.
* Coming soon: Heroes of the Robolution Trading Cards, a how-to on metering relays (to find out which pin does what if it's not clearly marked on the relay package), and hopefully, some project hardware hacks.
Buy the Book Now!
Site (C) 2003. Street Tech Labs. Book Content (C) 2003. Que Publishing.
Website designed by Gareth Branwyn and Blake Maloof.
Photos by Jay Townsend/Primal Design. Illustrations by Mark Frauenfelder