Although Mobile Robots: Inspiration to Implementation
is certainly an excellent book
to learn the basics of electrical engineering
, computer science
, and general know-how necessary for the building of simple robots, where it truly shines is in its presentation of a coherent vision of behavior based robotics
at a level suitable for amateur robotics
Most books on robotics for those of us without a PhD generally do a passable job of covering the basics of motors, sensors and electronics. You can learn how to wire up an H-bridge or build an infrared proximity sensor from any of a dozen books. Most also explain the rudiments of microcontroller programming, and how to interface sensors, actuators and processors. What they don't explain is how to get anything but the most rudimentary and mechanical of behaviors out of your expensive heap of motors, chips and batteries.
Mobile Robots, on the other hand, is written by the engineers who developed behavior based robotics, and it does a thorough job of explaining how to connect the inputs to the outpus to get intelligent-seeming results. The example robot presented in this book, Rug Warrior, is a complete and functioning robot programmed on behavior based principles.
I believe Lego Mindstorms arose from MIT's 6.270 class, from which Mobile Robots is another spinoff.