by Joseph L. Jones and Anita M. Flynn, published 1993 by A K Peters Ltd, grew out of the research done in Rod Brooks' Mobile Robotics Group at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab from 1984 to 1992. It started out as a Robot Building Manual for the lab's 1989 Robot Talent Show, where students were given kits of parts and computers and instructed to build robots of their own design, inventing and solving new problems as they went along. The Manual was then revised so as to be understandable to the novice robot builder, published as Mobile Robots, and was used as a textbook in several high schools and colleges.
The book was designed to appeal to as broad an audience as possible. It contains detailed instructions for the building of TuteBot, a simple robot designed as a tutorial, and Rug Warrior, a more advanced model containing its own programmable microprocessor. In between, the book ranges in detail from simple robotics theory to advanced schematics, including a complete program for Rug Warrior written in a variant of C.
Advanced chapters include detailed discussions on computational hardware, the strengths and weaknesses of locomotion systems (including motors), the different types of available sensors and power supplies. To encourage the imagination, the book includes photos and descriptions of several of MIT AI Lab's (then) current robotics projects, including Attila and Genghis, two six-legged walking robots (Attila, I think, is substantially larger than Ghenghis, which is shoebox sized), Squirt and Goliath, the (then) world record-holder as the world's smallest autonomous robot.
For the beginner, Mobile Robots is an invaluable tool, containing instructions on simple soldering techniques, how to build prototypes, and a substantial list of dealers and suppliers for electronic equipment and parts. One notable feature is the recommendation of LEGO building blocks as a structural component, which may have been a major factor leading to the introduction of LEGO Mindstorms in 1998.