Getting into robotics can be a challenging endeavor, but if you start with the right books, then learning how to program a robot can be a much easier experience. That’s why we compiled this list of the best books on robotics for beginners, so you can quickly gain some practical programming skills that you can put to use immediately.
Best Books on Robotics for Beginners
Learn Robotics Programming
Robot Operating System (ROS) for Absolute Beginners
Robot Programming: A Guide to Controlling Autonomous Robots
Robot Builder’s Bonanza, 4th Edition
The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book
Learn Robotics Programming (Buy Online) is written by Danny Staple who has 19 years of experience as a professional software engineer. Danny also serves as a mentor at his local Coder Dojo where he teaches coding concepts and robotics.
In this book, you’ll learn how to interface with sensors and motors to control a robot using a Raspberry Pi (Buy Online). This book also covers AI and computer vision, and you will learn how to program more complex intelligent robotic systems.
You’ll need to have a basic understanding of the Python Programming Language (Online Course) to get the most out of this book, but the author makes it very easy to follow along even if you only have a cursory knowledge of python.
All in all, this is an excellent book if you want to gain some practical experience building and programming real-world robots.
Robot Operating System ROS for Absolute Beginners (Buy Online) is written by Lentin Joseph who has many years of experience in the robotics industry. Lentin also serves as the CEO of Qbotics Labs, which has a primary focus on robotics and machine vision.
This is one of the best robotics programming books if you’re interested in learning more about the Robot Operating System (Video Course). This open source platform is quickly gaining popularity in a wide range of industries where it is starting to replace more proprietary technologies.
In this book, you’ll learn how to install and configure ROS to run on the Linux operating system. It will also introduce some fundamental ROS concepts and commands you’ll need to learn in order to build a ROS project from start to finish.
You’ll also learn how to program robots using ROS API’s in both C++ and Python. The Robot Operating System is compatible with both languages, and there will be lessons in each one so you can get a more complete understanding of ROS API’s and the underlying build system. Then once you learn some of the basics of ROS programming you’ll get to make a virtual robot and test it out using the GAZEBO simulator.
Robot Programming: A Guide to Controlling Autonomous Robots (Buy Online) is written by Cameron Hughes and Tracy Hughes. Cameron currently holds a position at Ctest Laboratories where he specializes in artificial intelligence, and Tracey is a senior graphics programmer at Ctest Labs where she develops user interfaces and visualization systems.
This book covers basic concepts like how to read sensor input and control servo motors, and it serves as a very thorough introduction to robotics programming. Most of the programs in this book can run on an Arduino (Buy Online), or even more advanced ARM7 and ARM9 based systems.
You will need to know C/C++ and Java to understand the lessons in this book and to complete the programming activities. If you need a refresher course on either language we recommend this video course for C/C++ (View Course), and this video course for Java (View Course).
Robot Builder’s Bonanza, 4th Edition (Buy Online) is written by Gordon McComb who has been called the “father of hobby robotics” by MAKE Magazine. Gordon has written over 60 books, and he has spent over 13 years teaching and writing about computers and robotics.
This is a practical hands-on book that is packed with over 100 beginner robotics projects. It comes with a list of all the parts, tools and materials you’ll need to build your robot. It also will introduce you to some rapid prototyping methods, and you will learn how to design your own robot using CAD (Computer Aided Design) software and a 3D printer.
You’ll also learn how to program some well-known microcontrollers like the Arduino (Buy Online), PICAXE and the BASIC Stamp. In addition, this book will also cover some complex programming concepts related to machine vision and navigation.
The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book (Buy Online) is written by Laurens Valk who has a degree in mechanical engineering from Delft University. Laurens is also a member of the LEGO MINDSTORMS Community Partners (MCP) where he helps test and develop new MINDSTORMS products.
This book primarily focuses on programming the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Robot Kit (Buy Online). This kit is a great build your own robot kit that comes with all the parts and controllers you’ll need to quickly learn robotics programming.
This book will teach you how to build more sophisticated robots than you would if you were just following the instructions that come with the EV3 kit. You’ll also learn how to utilize more advanced programming concepts such as data storage, variables, and custom programming blocks.
The book also goes into detail on how to use the parts from the EV3 kit to build custom robots. This section of the book goes into detail on the design concepts and techniques that will keep a budding roboticist interested in exploring the EV3 LEGO robot kit long after they finish the core projects.
Robotics: DISCOVER THE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY OF THE FUTURE (Buy Online) is written by Kathy Ceceri who teaches hands-on STEAM workshops for kids at schools, libraries, and museums. Kathy is also an expert in Homeschooling, and she has written dozens of project-based books for kids of all ages.
This book goes over the history of robotics in the early sections to give readers a better understanding of the technologies that lead to the development of modern robots. Then the book will delve deeper into the core concepts of robotics, like actuators, effectors, sensors, and controllers.
You’ll also learn how to build a robot at home with cheap easily accessible materials. There are 20 projects mixed into this book that will teach anyone how to build a robot step by step in a clear and concise manner.
Some of the projects you’ll build are BEAM-Style robots and a dynamic walker. You’ll also learn how to wire sensors and motors together to create a pressure gauge and a tilt sensor. Each one of these projects can be made from relatively inexpensive materials, so you’ll be able to build a robot without spending a fortune.
Robot Building for Beginners (Buy Online) is written by David Cook who has 20 years of experience as a software developer. David served as an engineering manager at Motorola, and he has created a number of software applications for a number of different industries.
This book is perfect for a beginner who needs to learn how to build a robot. The first two chapters will address the tools you’ll need and some safety procedures. Then you’ll learn the core principles of basic electronics, and how to use a multimeter to test circuits.
Then you can take everything you learned and combine it together to build a small robot. The book will go over each step in detail, so you can easily follow it even if you are a beginner. Once you’ve finished the build you’ll have a much better understanding of all the core engineering concepts, and you’ll also have a fully functioning line following robot.
Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots (Buy Online) is written by Gareth Branwyn who is a writer for Wired, ID, and Esquire. Gareth has also written books on the world wide web and a number of other technologies.
This 400-page book is packed with information about the history of robotics, and it also goes over some core philosophical concepts. Then it introduces the skills and resources you’ll need to build your own robot.
There are three different beginner robotics projects in this book that anyone can build using inexpensive parts from around the house. The first two robots are more like art projects, but the third robot is programmable, and you can expand upon its design to make a more complex robot.
Lego Robot Kits
The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Robot Kit (Buy Online) is one of the best robotics building sets for kids on the market. This kit comes with everything you’ll need to create five unique robots.
The first robot you can build is a humanoid robot called Ev3Storm that has the ability to fight using his LEGO blade or blaster. Then there are the snake and scorpion robots that can move around and follow basic programs.
The other two robots are the Track3R and the Gripper, which are wheeled robots that can pick things up, and move around their environment.
All of the robots are controlled by an EV3 brick and they can be programmed using a PC or smartphone. You also get an infrared remote control with this kit to program and control the EV3 from a distance even if you don’t have a PC or a smartphone.