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Robotics is one of the world's fastest growing hobbies. The thrill of creating moving, and sometimes "thinking" machines, can be experienced by a child creating his or her LEGO masterpiece, as well as a graduate student putting the finishing touches on his walking beer-retrieval robot.

In this section we list books that will introduce the hobby to the novice, as well as books that have useful tips for even the most advanced hobbyist. You will also find books of interest to hobbyists on our other pages. See our Links page for a list of robot clubs and competitions for the hobbyist!



   Build Your Own Humanoid Robots : 6 Amazing and Affordable Projects

Build Your Own Humanoid RobotsDo you know Asimo? Honda's startlingly human robot has toured the United States, rock-star style, and even rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Asimo can be rented, but only in Japan. If you live elsewhere you'll just have to build one yourself!

This unique guide to sophisticated robotics projects brings humanoid robot construction home to the hobbyist. Written by a well-known figure in the robotics community, Build Your Own Humanoid Robots provides step-by-step directions for 6 exciting projects, each costing less than $300. Together, they form the essential ingredients for making your own humanoid robot.

Serious enough to interest robot professionals, the plans inside offer serious fun to hobbyists. They give you the power to breathe life into a mechanical being with amazingly human qualities, and feature all the instructions you need for programming the inexpensive chips that give your humanoid brains and sensitivity.


Build Your Own Humanoid Robots features six amazing projects from the author of Amphibionics and Insectronics including:

* Robotic Arm, Wrist, and Hand. Build a versatile robotic arm system to give your humanoid the ability to manipulate objects. A PIC microcontroller provides motor control and feedback.
* Personal Computer Interface. Learn how to interface the robot arm or any other robotics project to a personal computer for complete control and feedback.
* Visual Basic Control Software. Develop flexible bi-directional communications software to control the robot arm or other projects from your personal computer.
* Voice Recognition Control. Make your robotic arm and walking robot obey your spoken commands with this completely embedded control system that can also be used for many other applications.
* Expressive, Speaking Face. Enable your robot to show happiness, surprise, excitement, anger, and more, as it speaks any words you transmit electronically.
* Bipedal Walking Robot. It's your own amazing small scale, fully autonomous robot! Learn about sensors, analog-to-digital converters, DC motor control, microcontrollers, feedback, and control systems.

Also included is the background information regarding construction materials, test equipment, printed circuit board fabrication, microcontrollers, and programming and design considerations needed to create the humanoid robot projects.

We recommend this book!


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   Build Your Own All-Terrain Robot

Build Your Own All Terrain Robot

Remotely operated robots are becoming increasingly popular because they allow the operators to explore areas that may not normally be easily accessible. The use of video-controlled technology has sparked a growing public interest not just in hobbyists, but also in the areas of research, space, archeology, deep-sea exploration, and even the military. Advances in technology have made the creation of an all-terrain, video controlled robot possible for even the amateur robotic hobbyist.

Now you can create a robot that goes where no robot has gone before; a tough robot that travels where you can't (even in total darkness), sees what lies hidden from your eyes, reports back instantaneously with live color video and audio, and can even converse with the carbon-based life forms it encounters -- all for less than $200 in parts and supplies!

The authors bring their beginner-friendly, budget-savvy, heavily illustrated, and creativity-packed methods to the exciting world of robotics. They help even total newcomers to robots and home workshops to construct a rugged, video-controlled, talking, seeing, interacting explorer robot with a range of over a mile.

This book may be the easiest way into the world of video-controlled robotics, but it delivers exciting results! It gives you all the help you need to:

* Follow easy plans, illustrations, and instructions to build a talented, versatile, and rugged robot
* Control you robot from a block away using a video link
* See what it sees, hear what it hears, and speak with anyone it meets
* Customize the chassis to suit your own needs with a variety of optional configurations
* Develop an explorer robot with serious scientific capabilities
* Teach your robot to think for itself with free software

Whether you have serious scientific objectives or just want to surprise your pals, you don't have to dream of owning a video-controlled robot anymore. You can build a sophisticated 'bot for less than you ever imagined!

Chapter 1: An Introduction to Video-Controlled Robots
Chapter 2: An Overview of the Technologies Used in This Book
Chapter 3: Choosing the Right Parts for the Job
Chapter 4: Planning and Building the Frame
Chapter 5: Remote Control Operations
Chapter 6: Motor-Speed Control
Chapter 7: Video Cameras and Transmitters
Chapter 8: Camera Control and Lighting
Chapter 9: Safety and Obstacle Avoidance
Chapter 10: All-Weather Body Design
Chapter 11: Houston, We Have a Problem
Chapter 12: Sources for Parts and Information

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   Junkbots, Bugbots and Bots on Wheels : Building Simple Robots with BEAM Technology

JunkBots, Bugbots, and Bots on Wheels : Building Simple Robots With BEAM TechnologyEver wonder what to do with those discarded items in your junk drawer? Now you can use electronic parts from old Walkmans, spare remote controls and even paper clips to build your very own autonomous robots and gizmos. Get step-by-step instructions from the Junkbot masters for creating simple and fun self-guiding robots safely and easily using common and not-so-common objects from around the house--or within a quick shopping trip away. Using BEAM technology (Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics, Mechanics), ordinary tools, salvaged electronic bits, and the occasional dead toy, you'll be able to construct a solar-powered obstacle-avoiding device, engineer a mini-sumo-wrestling robot, build a motorized walking robot bug, and much more. So grab your screwdriver, raid that dumpster, and join the robot-building revolution!

In Junkbots, Bugbots & Bots on Wheels, authors Mark Tilden and Dave Hrynkiw show you how to create BEAM robots that walk, seek light, avoid obstacles, and do a whole lot more. Tilden and Hrynkiw are friendly, enthusiastic guides, full of great advice. If you've wanted to get involved with robotics but couldn't overcome the "intimidation" factor, your time has come. With the help of this book you will:

*Get an overview of basic electronics, robot construction methods, and learn the difference between "dead bug" and "live bug" electronics

*Identify the essential tools you need for mechanical assembly and gain important safety tips

*Find out why BEAM robotics is a growing alternative to traditional CPU-based robotics

*Learn "dumpster diving" strategies for collecting prime robot construction materials

*Use a cell phone battery or solar panel from a calculator to create power sources for your robot

*Understand how to use soldering equipment and various support tools

The book includes instructions for building seven projects including:

Project 1: The Symet: An Introduction to Solar Powered Robotics
Project 2: The Solaroller: BEAM-Style Drag Racer
Project 3: The Herbie Photovore
Project 4: The Bicore Headbot
Project 5: The BEAM Magbot Pendulum
Project 6: The BEAM Mini-Sumo Wrestling Edgebot
Project 7: The BEAM Walking Robot

Build a cool robot from scratch in just a few hours with the help of this book!

We recommend this book!

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    Robot Builder's Cookbook: Build and Design Your Own Robots

Discover the world of robotics by building and programming your own robots. Through hands-on project work, this book introduces the mechanics, electronics and programming involved in practical robot design and building. The use of the PIC microcontroller throughout provides a painless introduction to programming while harnessing the power of a highly popular microcontroller used by students and design engineers worldwide.

This is a book for first-time robot builders, advanced builders wanting to know more about programming robots, and students in tackling microcontroller-based practical work. Readers will find this book a unique and exciting source of projects, ideas, and techniques that can be combined into a wide range of fascinating robots.

This book features
* Full step-by-step instructions for 5 complete robots
* Key techniques in electronics, programming and construction for robust robots that work first time
* Illustrations, close-up photographs and a lively, readable text make this a fun and informative guide for novice and experienced robot builders

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   123 Robotics Experiments for the Evil Genius with PCB

123 Robotics Experiments for the Evil Genius with PCBIf you enjoy tinkering in your workshop and have a fascination for robotics, you'll have hours of fun with the 123 experiments in this innovative project book.

More than just an enjoyable way to spend time, these exciting experiments also provide a solid grounding in robotics, electronics, and programming. Each experiment builds on the skills acquired in those before it so you develop a hands-on, nuts-and-bolts understanding of robotics - from the ground up.

123 Robotics Projects for the Evil Genius --

* Introduces you to robotics, electronics, and programming for robotics step-by-step. You don't need to be a science whiz to get started, but you will be when you've finished.
* Vividly explains the science behind robots and the technologies needed to build them, including:
* Electronics
* Mechanical assembly
* Motors and batteries
* Programming and microcontrollers
* Shows how you can create simple robots and models using materials found around the house and workshop
* Requires only inexpensive, easily obtained parts and tools
* Provides a PCB (printed circuit board) that will make it easy to create the circuits used in this book as well as your own experiments
* Gives you directions for building a maze solving robot, a mine sweeper robot, a digital sound recorder, and much more
* Explains underlying principles and suggests other applications
* Supplies parts lists and program listings

These are imaginative experiments that teach the basics - while providing hours of fun!

Myke Predko is also the author of:
Programming and Customizing PIC Microcontrollers

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   Intermediate Robot Building

Intermediate Robot BuildingIn this follow up to the very successful Robot Building for Beginners, Cook takes you to the next level of robot building. Your robot will be able to explore rooms, follow lines, or battle opponents. Intermediate Robot Building features Roundabout--a room explorer that requires no programming and uses only off-the-shelf electronics. With over 300 photographs and simple directions, this is a fun and easy guide for anyone interested in robot building.

Find out how to make a motor (and robot) go forward, reverse, coast, and brake. Begin with the most rudimentary motor driver and build up to the classic full-motion control H-bridge. Significantly improve motor power and driver efficiency by using MOSFETs. Or, simplify your robot designs with prepackaged motor driver chips.

The circuits and parts in this book are presented as independent modules, so that you can build the complete robot as described or apply the modules to your own unique robot designs.

For readers of Robot Building for Beginners, this book is the perfect next step in the learning process. If you already have basic robot building experience, it is not necessary to have read the first book to enjoy this book.

We recommend this book!

See some of the 300 pictures and chapter descriptions in this book

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   Insectronics : Build Your Own Walking Robot

Insectronics : Build Your Own Walking RobotThis complete project book delivers all the step-by-step plans you need to construct your own six-legged insect-like robot that walks and actually responds to its environment. Using inexpensive off-the-shelf parts you can "build a better bug" while having loads of fun honing your knowledge of mechanical construction, programming, microcontroller use, and artificial intelligence.

After a brief history of walking machines, the author studies walking gates for six-legged machines and he takes a quick look at the tools and materials needed to build the robot. Construction starts with the chassis and legs - with special attention given to mounting the inexpensive RC hobby-style servo motors. Next comes electronics fabrication and finally, programming. The last five chapters explain how to get the most from your robot with suggested experiments, tips for using the ultrasonic range finding, and by adding a remote control and a robotic gripper.

Written by an award-winning robotics expert, Insectronics:
* Fully explains PIC programming, use of sensors, and robot intelligence
* Details tools and materials
* Covers obstacle avoidance, sonar room mapping, finding the best route, and maze solving
* Features an informative chapter on software that covers coordinating the servo motors for walking, monitoring infrared and sonar sensors, and controlling the output of sound and light emitting diodes
* Includes a comprehensive chapter on robotic grippers
* Explains how to implement radio remote control to operate the robot up to one mile away
* Shows you how to give your robot unique personalized features
* Tells you how to get it all done on a shoestring budget

If you want to follow the lead of robotics experts who are looking to insects for structural inspiration – and have hours of amusement – Insectronics belongs in your home workshop!

We recommend this book!

Click here for a look at some of the robots you can build with Insectronics!

Also available from the same author:
Amphibionics : Build Your Own Biologically Inspired Reptilian Robot

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   Amphibionics : Build Your Own Biologically Inspired Reptilian Robot

Amphibionics : Build Your Own Biologically Inspired Reptilian RobotIf you're a robotics hobbyist with a flair for creativity, here's your opportunity to join the revolution and advance robotic evolution. Amphibionics : Build Your Own Biologically Inspired Reptilian Robot leads you step-by-step through four amazing projects which, when completed, will leave you as master of a gang of robot reptiles that jump, slither, walk, swim, and respond to their environment!

Packed with insight and a wealth of informative illustrations, Amphibionics show you how to build your own snake, frog, crocodile, and turtle. It focuses on the construction of each robot in detail, and then explores the world of slithering, jumping, swimming, and walking robots -- along with the artificial intelligence needed to make these movements happen. Amphibionics also:

* Tells you all you need for mechanical construction, programming, locomotion, remote control, and customization
* Teaches you corresponding electronics, PIC programming, artificial intelligence, software, motor control, and wireless data linking.
* Instructs you to build your own customizable remote control using inexpensive transmitter and receiver modules
* Helps you add your own touches, through a special section that shows you how to evolve each robot further and make it unique
* And much, much, more!

With each project amazingly inexpensive to complete, you're bound to wind up with your own brood of reptilian robots in no time!

Also available from the same author: 
Insectronics : Build Your Own Walking Robot

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   Robot Builder's Sourcebook

Robot Builder's SourcebookFascinated by the world of robotics but don't know how to tap into the incredible amount of information available on the subject? Clueless as to locating specific information on robotics? Want the names, addresses, phone numbers, and web sites of companies that can supply the exact part, plan, kit, building material, programming language, operating system, computer system, or publication you've been searching for? Turn to Robot Builder's Sourcebook – a unique clearinghouse of information for robot hobbyists that will open 2500+ new doors and spark almost as many new ideas.

Written by Gordon McComb, author of the classic Robot Builder's Bonanza, one of the most popular books ever written on amateur robotics, the huge 711 page Sourcebook lists over 2500 mail-order suppliers and other sources, including local-area businesses, cross-referenced and categorized to make your search quick and easy. You'll find detailed information about the resources, including addresses and phone numbers: In short, everything you need to find – and acquire – common and uncommon robotics parts and supplies. In order to provide a true robotics goldmine, this one-of-a kind guide also includes:

* Dozens of informative sidebars to help you understand essential robotic technologies such as motor types, sensor design, and how to select the best materials
* Scores of relevant articles designed to fill-in informational gaps, stimulate thinking, and help you make the most of all the material the Sourcebook makes available to you
* A much-needed clearinghouse for information on amateur and educational robotics, containing over 2,500 listings of robot suppliers, including mail order and local area businesses
* Resources for both common and hard-to-find parts and supplies

If you want to know where in the world of robotics you can find it . . . turn to the Sourcebook.

Gordon McComb writes the widely read Robotics Resources column for Servo Magazine.

Also from the same author:
Gadgeteer's Goldmine
Robot Builder's Bonanza : 99 Inexpensive Robotics Projects
Electronics for Dummies

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   Build Your Own Robot!

Build your own Robot!Build Your Own Robot is a compilation of articles from Karl Lunt's long-running column in Nuts & Volts magazine. It is a must-read for all beginner and intermediate-level robotics enthusiasts.

Written in a friendly, straightforward manner, it contains entertaining anecdotes as well as practical advice and instruction. The author's stories about his various robotics projects will inspire you to try them yourself - and he shares his tips and code to help you. Projects range from transforming a TV remote control into a robot controller to building a robot from a drink cooler. You'll want to build them all - the author's enthusiasm for robotics is contagious!

Chapters include: Getting Started * Software * Electronics * Mechanics * Robotic Projects * Adventures in Hacking * The 68hc11 * Way Cool Robots * Sidelights

At 560 pages, this is a huge book which covers almost everything that a robotics hobbyist might be interested in. Topics include: Modifying and controlling hobby R/C servo motors; frame materials; batteries; software utilities and freeware for robotics; various microcontroller boards and programming languages; using infrared LEDs; using motors and gears from toys; how to control small DC gearhead motors; useful catalogs for robot builders; making your own PCBs; design of a line-following sensor array; working with stepper motors; tele-operation of your robot; building and programming Sumo robots; building a fire-fighting robot; a simple robotic eye; using an electronic compass; submersible robots; robot soccer; combat robots; and robot competitions.

Believe it or not, the above list is only a small part of the territory that this book covers. The author also includes building details for several robots including Huey, Max, BYRD, RDM, Hercules, Ready-set-go, M1, and Tacklebot. Karl Lunt has really given us our money's worth with this book!

Read an excerpt from this book


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   Applied Robotics and CD-ROM

Applied RoboticsApplied Robotics and CD-ROM guides you through the steps of creating a small, rolling robot. It is a practical, project-oriented book and includes projects on the mechanical platform, DC motor control, R/C servo control, sensory input, and microcontrollers. You will be introduced to all the challenging aspects of robotic systems including mechanical design, sensory systems, electronic control, and computer software intelligence. Along the way, you'll also learn about fuzzy logic, subsumption, and microcontrollers.

It includes projects to build robot "brains" using both simple discrete electronics, as well as simple and advanced microcontroller systems. Robots are programmed in both assembly language and the fuzzy-logic robot language called Fuzbol. The Fuzbol CD-ROM comes with the book.

This book gives a great, project-oriented introduction to the field of robotics. It guides the beginner through the challenges of building a working robot and it will provide new ideas and techniques for the advanced builder. No single project in this book is very difficult; in fact, most of them are simple. Applied Robotics will have you building your robot in no time!

Read an excerpt from this book.

Also from the same author:
Applied Robotics II  (Bigger, more complicated projects for the serious hobbyist)
Animatronics : A Guide to Animated Holiday Displays
Hands-on AI with Java : Smart Gaming, Robots, and More
Robotics Demystified

For more on animatronics see:
Automata and Mechanical Toys

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