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Robot Builder’s Bonanza

Gordon McComb
I have a soft spot in my heart for Gordon McComb and this book. They are what got me into hobby robotics in the 1980s. This book is a classic, the title that pretty much launched the hobby robotics space. This new edition brings the book into the 21st century and covers everything from mechanical systems and working with various building materials all the way up to using microcotrollers and a wealth of sensors. This is the best overall book about building personal robots that’s currently on the market.

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


  1. Jim says:

    I have the mint and love it. It is very quiet – barely noticeable unless it is right underfoot. It has two modes – sweeper and mop. You can use standard swiffer dust pads for the sweeper and swiffer makes a wet pad that works great for the mopping mode. Works great for our mostly wood or tile flooring. We run it regularly and you would be surprised at how much it picks up from “clean” floors. Not able to schedule like a roomba, but not really an issue, due to the fact that it is so quiet and can run relatively unnoticed with you in the room.

    1. Gareth Branwyn says:

      Thanks for that feedback, Jim. Does the NorthStar navigation work OK? I found it very problematic on the Rovio.

      1. Jim says:

        I have little reference for comparison. I will say that it is thorough and simple during sweep mode. It basically makes long runs back and forth in a very simple “mowing the lawn” pattern. In mop mode, it does a little 2 steps forward, 1 step back jig along a path that I would assume is to dislodge dirt. I always place the cube as instructed and it does show that it connects to the mint. It returns to its starting position and doesn’t seem to miss anything – although I have one very large room that it will only do half of and then I have to restart it on the other side – so it doesn’t wander too far from its cube. My only frame of reference is my friend’s roomba vacuum.

  2. Bill says:

    Put “Suicide Booth” on the Litter Bot and sales would go crazy.

  3. Jessie says:

    We have the Neato vacuum bot and love it. Plus it’s like having a Super Nintendo running around your house.

The Gift of Bot