The LEGO Mindstorms EV3 system is a great way to build robots or other autonomous creations, but it can have a steep learning curve. For those not familiar with Technic or Mindstorms, it is a different type of building experience than the LEGO System and the programming can be a new experience for a lot of people. For those beginners who need a place to start, The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book by Laurens Valk is a possible starting point.
When most people think of LEGO, they think of the brick based building system that they grew up with, but LEGO has a second building system started in 1977 that is still going just as strong. The Technic system uses beams rather than bricks to create more complex machine based builds. While Technic has a more mechanical feel to its builds, the book Incredible LEGO Technic: Cars, Trucks, Robots & More! by Pawel “Sariel” Kmiec shows some of the more creative and advanced builds that utilize the Technic system.
In the 1980’s, Steampunk was developed as a reaction to the growing Cyberpunk movement. Rather than the dystopian future fiction that was being developed, a reactionary fiction wherein the Industrial Revolution never came to pass and culture became stuck in the Victorian Era and all machines were steam powered. With time, the Steampunk movement grew and art and costumers created their own interpretations, including LEGO builders. In the new book Steampunk LEGO, Guy Himber shows off some of the Steampunk LEGO creations.
Many Mindstorms books teach how to use the kit by teaching how to make particular robots which work in a particular way. While this is a good way to learn how to build a Mindstorms robot, it is limiting the kinds of robots you learn to build and how the knowledge can be applied beyond those limited projects. Alternatively, there is The Art of LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Programming, a book focused primarily on the actual programming of the Mindstorms EV3 rather than overall robots.
Sometimes the hardest part of any project is getting started. Whether it is getting the initial idea or just getting started implementing the idea, it takes that effort to launch the concept into an actual project. For LEGO Mindstorms builders, The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Idea Book is here to help bring that initial idea from concept to actual build.
Over the years, the LEGO brick has moved from just a child’s plaything to an artistic medium. Like with other mediums, artist explore different aspects, including the darker ones that aren’t necessarily as wholesome as one would expect to find in children’s toys. With the new No Starch book, Beautiful LEGO 2: Dark, Mike Doyle explores some of the darker ideas that people have brought forth using LEGO pieces.
In 2004, it was national news when lawyer Nathan Sawaya left his six figure lawyer job to become a LEGO Master Builder. Six months later, he left that job to become an independent LEGO builder and start creating art. Ten years later, his brick art travels the country in exhibits and recently a book of his exhibit was released by No Starch Press – The Art of the Brick: A Life in LEGO.
With the Berlin Marathon a month behind me, I had one race left for the year. A 26.2 mile trek through the five boroughs of New York City that would comprise the TCS NYC Marathon, the biggest marathon in the world and also possibly the most challenging.
LEGO has always been known for their towns and buildings buildings. Within the last decade, they began creating more complex buildings like the Cafe Corner, the Green Grocer and the Fire Brigade, which were built around a standard that became known as Modulars, and were able to be put together to create more complex towns and cityscapes. With The LEGO Neighborhood Book by Brian Lyles and Jason Lyles, readers are given an introduction to the standard and instructions to build their own original modulars.
For kids who grew up in the 2000’s a staple toy was LEGO’s Bionicle line of buildable and posable large figurines. From 2001 – 2009, the Technic based figures were fairly ubiquitous among boys’ toys, until the line was shut down due to dwindling interest. The fans of Bionicle have remained vocal for the past 5 years, and now LEGO has brought back the theme to the joy of its continuing fans.