The LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox is a humanoid robot that is also a guitar, a dogbot, and an industrial fabrication machine. Which of these things it is depends on which set of instructions you follow. A scratch-like programming language lets you control the boost from a phone or tablet, via blue tooth. It is not cheap, but it is an amazing and excellent toy.
It does take absolutely forever to build any of these projects, but there are stages along the way where you can stop and play with what you’ve got so far.
And, if you are clever, you can combine the Lego Boost parts that come with the kit with other Lego objects and make more different things. For example, if you happen to have the LEGO City Arctic Scout Truck (60194) , which is in and of itself a fun LEGO kit, you can combine some of the Boost parts with this kit to make something special. Like this:
But, the problem with that project, and several like it, is that even on the LEGO boost site, there is relatively little information on how to do it. Not that you necessarily want step by step instructions. You really want to learn how to hack the LEGOs with the Boost and have fun creating. But I think it is helpful to get a bit more guidance, to get farther with the first few stages of this sort of project.
And that is why Yoshihito Isogawa wrote The LEGO BOOST Idea Book: 95 Simple Robots and Hints for Making More!. This excellent book has, as it says in the name, 95 specific ideas that come in the form of typical LEGO non-verbal visual instructions (but nicer looking than actual LEGO instructions) to do very specific things, like how to make a sliding door, how to launch rockets, that sort of thing. Each project comes with the code blocks specified to make it work.
In a way, deploying many of the ideas in this book, and using them as part of an overall LEGO build you’ve otherwise got going, may be more fun than the Robot itself, especially after you’ve messed around with the robot for a few weeks.
For example, we have a large and complex LEGO Angry Birds Kit, which includes an angry bird launcher that uses basic finger power like a lever. Not any more! We are going to build an actual rocket launcher that launches the angry birds, you betcha!
Now, I want to be clear about something. All of the parts that the The LEGO BOOST Idea Book uses in its descriptions are part of the LEGO Boost kit itself (#17101). But the principles laid out and the design ideas could easily use other bricks from your general collection. This give you the best of both worlds: Total functionality using the book itself as an add on to your Boost, adding significant value to that expensive kit for only a few bucks more AND a way to leverage all those other books, because you can extend the projects pretty easily with your own imagination.
I guess I would say that if you get a LEGO Boost Kit, you really should get this book along with it. Great gift for a kid this holiday season. Best ready to build robot on the market (possibly) with a truly meaningful extension.