Jetro - Posted on 25 October 2014

Book Cover

Anyone who knows the name Yoshihito Isogawa will immediately associate it with clever colourful contraptions made with stock LEGO pieces. When No Starch Press decided to print Tora No Maki, his LEGO Technic Idea book, it was an immediate success, despite the fact that most of the information was already available as a free PDF download. Idly leafing through those books is a visual pleasure and a source of inspiration for all kinds of mechanical solutions.
The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Idea Book is based on the same principle, but applied to the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3, or rather, to the inventory of the EV3 Retail set (31313). Although the book includes a few very simple programming instructions it doesn’t teach programming. It also doesn’t include instructions for abuilding any robots. So what is the book about?

The power and interest of The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Idea book lies in its uniquely visual approach and the fact that it provides a library of ideas, a plethora of gadgets and contraptions that you can either incorporate in your EV3 robot or use as inspiration for similar mechanisms. The book starts by teaching some simple mechanical solutions to the use of gears and levers for transmitting power and motion in interesting ways. It then shows you how to incorporate some of these ideas into your robot, either as a base, an attachment (using motors) or, more briefly, to interact with sensors. 

In his earlier work Isogawa has always been a master of the use of different colours to facilitate the understanding and reproduction of his contraptions. In the case of this book the inventory he was able to use was circumscribed to the elements in the 31313 EV3 set, which, for the purposes of his book, make for a rather less colourful set of parts. Even so, the excellent photography, the fact that most constructions are shown from several different angles and the inclusion of a bill of materials for each construction allow you to easily replicate any of the models suggested in this manual.
The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Ides book not only provides imaginative solutions to mechanisms you may want to incorporate in your robot, it also suggests many ideas you might not have thought of otherwise and that will have you wishing to find ways to include them in your next EV3 design.