Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Review: Mastering BeagleBone Robotics by Richard Grimmett

I have to say that I'm somewhat conflicted about writing my review of Mastering BeagleBone Robotics by Richard Grimmett. I definitely found that one of the author's previous book on BeagleBone Robotics was a gem. You can imagine my anticipation in reading a book that I assumed would take basic project introductions like the previous publication and get into much more advanced topics for seasoned hobby robotics practitioners. This wasn't quite the case.

There are advanced projects presented in this 175 page (Kindle format) publication. After a brief intro, the book gets into the projects, with some chapters expanding on the previous and starting afresh. Code is presented and downloadable. I would recommend Packt Publishing to edit black terminal window screenshots and make them either black on white or simply use text to present the typed content and out. It would make for a far more enjoying reading experience.

In one chapter, where the basics of a robotic sail boat are presented, the book states “... you can now build a robot that sails autonomously”. I find the statement to be on the presumptuous side. My lack of understanding of sailing leads me to believe that it's a very complex activity. I wish that more of the theory was presented directly in the book instead of referenced to external websites. Using my Kindle Whitepaper at a local coffee shop, I'm simply not going to click on the links and therefore missing some of the learning potential. Perhaps I am a difficult reader...

Overall, key BeagleBone concepts for multiple types of hobby robotics are presented. The information provided is enough to give the novice hobby enthusiasts the background required to get started. Should you buy this book? Absolutely, if you haven't bought any previous BeagleBone robotics books from the same publisher and author. In my always humble opinion, it's a very strong second edition.