Discovery Book – Detailed Overview

Click to read the back side of the book

This page will give you a detailed overview of the Discovery Book contents and what you can expect inside. On this page you will find:

  • Detailed Description
  • Building instruction samples
  • Programming instruction samples
  • Programming instruction samples

Further details are found on other pages:

Book description

Discover the many features of the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 set. The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 Discovery Book is the complete, illustrated, beginner’s guide to MINDSTORMS that you’ve been looking for.

The crystal clear instructions in the Discovery Book will show you how to harness the capabilities of the NXT 2.0 set to build and program your own robots. Author and robotics instructor Laurens Valk walks you through the set, showing you how to use its various pieces, and how to use the NXT software to program robots. Interactive tutorials make it easy for you to reach an advanced level of programming as you learn to build robots that move, monitor sensors, and use advanced programming techniques like data wires and variables. You’ll build eight increasingly sophisticated robots like the Strider (a six-legged walking creature), the CCC (a climbing vehicle), the Hybrid Brick Sorter (a robot that sorts by color and size), and the Snatcher (an autonomous robotic arm). Numerous building and programming challenges throughout encourage you to think creatively and to apply what you’ve learned as you develop the skills essential to creating your own robots.

Requirements: One LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 set (#8547)


  • A complete introduction to LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0
  • Building and programming instructions for eight innovative robots
  • 50 sample programs and 72 programming challenges (ranging from easy to hard) encourage you to explore newly learned programming techniques
  • 15 building challenges expand on the robot designs and help you develop ideas for new robots

Who is this book for?

This is a perfect introduction for those new to building and programming with the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 set. The book also includes intriguing robot designs and useful programming tips for more seasoned MINDSTORMS builders.

Building Instructions

The book features eight robots that can be built with a single NXT 2.0 set. Each is constructed from easy to follow, step-by-step building instructions, as shown below.

Building a robot has never been so easy. Follow the step-by-step building instructions and you’ll be able to construct even the most complex robots, all with just the pieces that come in your NXT 2.0 set. Numerous highlights and arrows help you focus your attention on critical steps in the construction. A colored reference chart in the front cover makes it easy to localize the right axle, beam or pin in no time.

But the book isn’t just a collection of ready-made projects. After you finish building and programming the main model as described, you are encouraged to further expand on the robot design. For example, once you’ve finished building the Explorer (which drives around) you’ll be challenged to expand it by adding an attachment that can raise and lower a pen, so that the robot can write your name!

Learn how to program

Once you’ve built a MINDSTORMS robot, it’s time to program it to make it come alive. You program a robot using the software that comes with the NXT set, but that’s not an easy thing to do when you’re just getting started. With the Discovery Book as your guide, you’ll master the ins and outs of the programming software in no time.

What will I learn about programming?

You’ll begin learning the basics of the software as you program your first robot, the Explorer, to move around and make sounds. As you move on, you’ll learn more programming techniques like making the robot repeat actions or display things on its screen.

You’ll begin creating simple programs.

You’ll then learn how to program robots with sensors as you upgrade the Explorer to the Discovery robot. You’ll make the Discovery see with the Ultrasonic Sensor, allowing your robot to drive around without crashing into something. You’ll also learn about all of the other sensors in the NXT 2.0 kit and even how to program the Discovery to follow the black line on the test pad.

While progressing through the book, you’ll learn how to create advanced programs.

You’ll continue expanding your programming skills as you build the Shot-Roller and the Strider, each introducing new programming tricks. In the third part of the book, you’ll learn all about advanced programming, and how to program with so called data wires and variables, allowing you to create intelligent robots. Finally in the fourth part of the Discovery Book, you’ll combine all of your programming skills to program the advanced robots like the Snatcher and the Hybrid Brick sorter.

How is the content organized?

Learning how to program requires good explanations of programming techniques. However, this doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Not at all! A new programming technique is always supported by a sample program with instructions to recreate it. This way, you won’t have to sit still while learning how to program. Once you’ve created the sample program, you’ll know enough about the new programming trick to try one of the Discoveries which follow the sample programs. Have a look at an excerpt from chapter 6 (see below) to see how the content is organized.

Is programming difficult?

Programming the robots in this book is not hard. In fact, you can make programs as easy (or as complex) as you want! Anyone will be able to recreate the sample programs provided. Instead, you can also download them from this website. The next step, solving the Discoveries could be harder at first, but as try and practice, you’ll be able to master the programming skills in no time. So far I’ve heard readers aged 8-88 using this book with no problems, and having a lot of fun with their MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 kit and this book.

Book Samples


Where to buy

The book is available in larger book stores, often stored between computer books. The easiest and usually cheapest method is to buy from The book is also widely available from online retailers outside the USA.