[PD] controlling robots/printers w/ PD

Ian Smith-Heisters heisters at 0x09.com
Sun Mar 27 01:25:01 CET 2005

If you want to control a stationary arm with PD it will depend on the 
device. Since it's stationary USB or serial is likely. Are you looking 
at buying something premade or making it yourself?

If you buy something premade I would imagine it works like any other 
peripheral: you'll need a driver and a program to interface with the 
driver. The arm would likely come with some program that lets you do 
basic programming of tasks. It would be possible, most likely, again 
depending on the particulars, to get PD to talk to the robot directly 
with some hacking. How easy that would be would depend on how the arm is 
implemented. You might even be able to find one that can be controlled 
with MIDI or OSC using some third party intermediary.

If you want to build it yourself you can decide how you want to 
interface with it. There are PIC microcontrollers with built in USB, 
serial, and a new one with ethernet coming out soon. The BASIC Stamp 
probably comes in various flavors as well. But this is probably too 
involved for you, since you want to avoid C programming, which probably 
also means you want to avoid assembler programming ;)

A nice middle route would be Lego RCX. They're lego robots--really easy 
to build and programmable in a few different languages, including Java. 
They have all kinds of third party "bricks" that let you add ultrasound 
sensors, IR sensors, and probably some sort of serial port. You can also 
use their included IR tower for communication. Here's a page 
http://www.sckans.edu/~sireland/webcam/webrcx/ that has code to let you 
control an RCX over the web.

Look around at the options and figure out what you'd like to do 
specifically and I can give you more pointers.


Robert Garvin wrote:
> Ok.. here's the deal. The printer is usb, and I've used the HID object, and
> it didn't recognize it (it may have, but it was on a usb hub.) also, the
> robot would be connected via usb. I thought about the wireless idea, and
> thought about the wireless mouse, but I wasn't sure if the part that plugs
> into the port had both a send and receive function to transmit info. An IR
> port would be neat, except it would force the robot to stay within
> line-o-sight (or reflections) of the port (this wouldn't be a problem if the
> robot was a stationary arm, which is what I think I should start with.
> -Robert
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ian Smith-Heisters [mailto:heisters at 0x09.com] 
> Sent: Saturday, March 26, 2005 3:58 PM
> To: Robert Garvin
> Cc: pd-list at iem.at
> Subject: Re: [PD] controlling robots/printers w/ PD
> I'm not too sure about the printer... it depends if it's USB or 
> parallel. I'm sure either one is doable, and probably without writing in 
> C(++). *maybe* Hans-Christoph Steiner's HID object if it's USB. I 
> haven't used it yet, but I hear good stuff.
> But for the robot, I use a serial port to communicate to a Microchip PIC 
> which can trigger all sorts of motors, lights, sensors, etc. Again, it 
> depends on the interface. I have no idea what sort of communication 
> pre-built robots use. Maybe the IR port on most laptops? But if you want 
> to use a serial port, there's a [comport] external. I mean, you could 
> build a robot with a wireless ethernet connection, which you could pilot 
> over the web using a joystick. (hmm... that sounds like a fun project)
> If you're more specfic about the printer/robot/gizmo I'm sure I (and 
> others around these parts) could be of more help.
> -Ian
> Robert Garvin wrote:
>>I was wondering if there was already an external to control a printer or 
>>a robot with PD.  If not, does anyone know how I would go about writing 
>>one? I understand that if you were to write a binary, you'd probably 
>>have to understand C (or C+ or C++. whatever it's called). Obviously, I 
>>don't understand any of it. If anyone can help me, let me know.
>>P.s. (if there is an external for the robot stuff, is there a specific 
>>kit that would be best for PD?)

More information about the Pd-list mailing list