Build Your Own Combat Robot

Author: Pete Miles & Tom Carroll
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne, 2002
Pages: 416
ISBN: 978-0072194647
Aimed at: Robot enthusiasts
Rating: 4
Pros: Clear, practical instructions, highly motivating
Cons: Not new, supplier details may have changed
Reviewed by: Harry Fairhead

A practical book with details of how to build things rather than a glossy coffee table book of pictures of robots damaging other robots.

Author: Pete Miles & Tom Carroll
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne, 2002
Pages: 416
ISBN: 978-0072194647
Aimed at: Robot enthusiasts
Rating: 4
Pros: Clear, practical instgructiopns, highly motivating
Cons: Not a new book so supplier details may have changed
Reviewed by: Harry Fairhead

I've only recently come across this book - and if you too are enthusiastic about robots and also missed it when initially published you'll be pleased to hear about it. True to the title it is a book about building robots. There isn't much more to add except to reassure you that this is a practical book with details of how to build things rather than a glossy coffee table book of pictures of robots damaging other robots. There are some nice colour pictures though!

The descriptions include simple maths showing you how to work out torques and gear ratios but it's all presented with a clarity that makes you want to build something! My only criticisms are that it's a bit weak on clever electronics and programming and the list of suppliers is US-only. It is also debatable how much use it would be to an experienced robot builder. It's not really an advanced book but there are so many hints, tips, examples and basic theory that you might well find it focuses your mind on your current robotic problem.

This would make a great source book for coursework projects and every school library should have a copy. If you have been thinking of playing with robots then this is a good place to start – even if you never get round to building anything you will enjoy reading it.

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Rails AntiPatterns

Author: Chad Pytel and Tammer Saleh
Publisher: Addison-Wesley, 2010
Pages: 400
ISBN: 978-0321604811
Aimed at: Competent Rails developers
Rating: 4.5
Pros: Well-structured and thoughtful discussion of principles
Cons: Assumes a lot of prior knowledge
Reviewed by: Mike James

With the subtitle "Best Practice R [ ... ]



Fitness for Geeks

Author: Bruce W. Perry
Publisher: O'Reilly
Pages: 336
ISBN: 978-1449399894
Aimed at: Geeks
Rating: 3
Pros: Well written and a good read
Cons: Not geeky or scientific enough
Reviewed by: Mike James

This is another really good idea from O'Reilly in its series to get geeks to look at other topics from a geeky [ ... ]


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