I have read a number of robotics books, and this book was a pleasant surprise. The book title is a good match for the contents - this is not a general introduction to robotics for the beginner (that would be covered by Cook's other book), but provides useful information for the robotics hobbyist that has some experience.
The first part of the book was a surprise - a few chapters are devoted to machining and workshop practice. Cook explains that in his experience robotics hobbyists are often familiar with programming and electronics but have little experience with building things, and machining in particular. Cook explains, in a good level of detail, how to go about simple hobby machining using a drill press or preferably a small milling maching. Attaching motors to wheels is a recurring theme. After reading these chapters I had some new information and could really see the benefits of having a milling machine available.
The second part of the book covers electronic circuits. The chapters begin with an introduction to schematics and part selections, then jump into linear voltage regulators and implementing infrared obstacle detectors. A key benefit for myself was a good understanding of how, where, when, and why to add capacitors into circuits, and I must say I'll be using a lot more capacitors from now on. After dealing with logic chips and driving motors using transistors and mosfets with h-bridges Cook provides some useful information on selecting and using microcontrollers.
In this book Cook provides several examples using actual robots he has constructed and runs through the construction of a small roundabout from beginning to operating.
I'd recommend this book as a good read to almost any hobby robot builder, although complete beginners would probably benefit from reading another book first.
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