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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Real-time robotic arm control with Blender - Hack a Day

Real-time robotic arm control with Blender

posted May 4th 2011 5:00am by Mike Nathan
filed under: arduino hacks, robots hacks

Last year, [Justin Dailey] was coming down the home stretch of his senior year as a Computer Engineering student and needed to build a final design project. He always wanted to construct a robotic arm, and figured that there was no better way to legitimize such a project, than to claim that it was “homework”.

While he originally wanted to control the arm with a joystick, he had been messing with Blender quite a bit leading up to his final project, and thought it would be pretty cool to let Blender do the work. He started out by testing his ability to control a single servo with Blender, then slowly increased the complexity of the project. He prototyped the arm using cardboard, and satisfied with his progress thus far, began constructing the arm out of aluminum.

Once he had all six of his servos attached to the arm’s joints and wired to his Roboduino, he got busy constructing a 3D model in Blender. Using a few Python scripts, the movements inside Blender are translated to serial data in real-time, which is relayed to the Roboduino in order to control the arm.

Check out his site if you get a chance – there’s plenty of code to be had, as well as several videos of the arm in various stages of construction and testing.

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Robotic Arm Test 1

Video Link...

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Real-time Controlled Robotic Arm

To finish up my B.S. in Computer Engineering, I had to come up with a design project. I had always wanted to create a robotic arm and control it with a joystick or something. I had also recently been playing around with the open source 3D program, Blender 2.49 (this does not work in Blender 2.5+).  After realizing the potential of Blender's built in Python scripting capabilities, I figured why not let Blender control it! Blender can use the full Python installation, Python can send data out the USB port, and there is dozens of ways to control a motor from a microprocessor. I figured I could use Blender to create a 3D model of the robotic arm, control the arm inside of Blender, and have the physical arm stay in sync. So I did!

Real-time robotic arm control with Blender
Real-time robotic arm control with Blender - Hack a Day
Justin Dailey: Real-time Controlled Robotic Arm
Senior Project - Justin Dailey - Picasa Web Albums
YouTube - Robotic Arm Test 1
YouTube - Blender 3D Robot Rig
YouTube - Senior Project Prototype
YouTube - Servo controlled by Blender, using an arduino
PCH Search & Win: construct a robotic arm
Robot Kits, Robotics, and Toy Robots

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