JAVA working beautifully - many thanks Dr Davison.
When you install the new drivers (Lib32-usb and Java) for your USB robot arm, the OWI software you loaded from the CD will stop working.The first test of the OWi USB Robot arm, using the Davison code and instructions, works fine. I just played with the USB board on my PC with only the motors and LED attached. Ok it's cheating, but I wanted to know if I could program it using my own Java code.
Now it's time to play with it and see if I can get a nice interface up and running.
(I am using Netbeans 7.2.1 on Windows Vista). I need to decide how I'm going to progress this so it can go mobile.
- Do I stick with Arduino?
- Do I move over to Raspberry PI and Linux open JDK Java JavaOne 2012?
- Blue Tooth / RF RC control?
- All of the Above?
I will list some limitations of the Robot Arm. Don't get me wrong, I don't expect the vendors to provide solutions to the limitations. At this price it is great value for money (~ £50). The next one up I found uses servos and an MCU for £150. But maybe I can improve it and have fun at the same time! That's Gampa's mantra.
The kit (as supplied) has no way of sensing or communicating the position of any of it's parts. This is risky for the mechanical parts of the arm and could cause wear, even failure. We don't want our 'bot to get a sprain do we? Some thoughts:
- Gears just carry on grinding away when max-positions of motorised joints are reached
- Gripper needs "touch" sensor
- Motors and gears could wear out
- Batteries are very heavy - replace with Li-Ion?
This may be a cheap and simple add-on implementation to the arm, irrespective of how it is being controlled, whether it's the vendor's software or a custom Java implementation.