[PD] controlling robots/printers w/ PD

B. Bogart ben at ekran.org
Sun Mar 27 03:59:48 CEST 2005

Hi Robert & Ian,

Comments inline...

Ian Smith-Heisters wrote:
> 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.

Often strange things like this tend to have proprietary drivers and or
control protocols. Some companies are nice and don't do this, but many
want to protect their products from any kind of reverse-engineering.
(sniffing a proprietary protocol). Cheaper items tend to be more standard.

> 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 ;)

One programs the BASIC stamp in BASIC, hence the name. No assembler
required. Also there is the Art Interface Device (aid.interaccess.org)
that is a GPL HW controller platform based around a PIC currently serial
only, but works with those USB-Serial converters. You just send it
simple commands in ASCII like: "a 0" to read the first A2D port or "w 12
255" to set all bits on board with address 12 to 1. Also there is a
simple python lib for using AID over serial.

So we all want to know what exactly are you doing?!? your question is
far to vague for us to give you a good suggestion.

> 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.
> -Ian
> 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.
>>> Thanks,
>>> Robert
>>> P.s. (if there is an external for the robot stuff, is there a
>>> specific kit that would be best for PD?)
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