Mouse controlled manipulator arm

[Oleg] worked out a way to use his USB mouse to control this manipulator arm. Using a Lynxmotion AL5D (we’ve seen the AL5A previously) he drives the six servos with an Arduino servo shield. A USB host shield handles the HID end for connecting the mouse. The video after the break says it all, [Oleg] has no problem picking up that figurine quickly and accurately. Sliding the mouse controls horizontal movement in all directions. The scroll wheel moves the claw up and down. And holding the left or right buttons what using the control wheel closes or rotates the claw. All we can say is: Bigger, BIGGER!


  1. FO fan says:

    Nice Vault-Tec Bobble-head!

  2. FedeOrtiz says:

    So coool!! Congratulations!!!

  3. Ivan says:

    Arrr! Vault Boy!

  4. Hosky says:

    Cool. Seems like a USB gamepad might make it easier to control the arm.

  5. Xtremegamer says:

    two joysticks could be better tho n maybe a PS2 USB controller ? :)

    just a though

  6. M4CGYV3R says:

    This is a perfect example of one of those things that is being used exactly as it was intended.

    An arduino and two shields controlling a premade robot arm…oh yay! I’ve never seen that before!

  7. Erik Johnson says:

    Though I don’t know about using the wheel for all the fine movements, I think it wouldn’t been easier to have the L/R mouse buttons determine if the X/Y axis of mouse movement translate to the elbow movements. e.g. Left down + mouse Y movement would work better for arm Z movement, and/or Left+X for rotation…

  8. Telxon says:

    Noooooo….. not the bobblehead!!!

  9. kyoorius says:

    Someone buy this guy a Logitech VX Nano mouse with the weighted free rolling scroll wheel.

  10. Janez D. says:

    I myself would prefer an analog joystick…

  11. hpux735 says:

    I generally agree with @Erik, I don’t think moving the wheel while holding down a button is very comfortable, or precise. Left-click for Z and rotate, and Right-click for gripper and wrist, I say.

  12. DeFex says:

    this would be cool with a 3dconexxion 6 axis 3d mouse, i dont know if the USB could be translated though since its probably not standard HID

  13. riycou says:

    why not just use a track ball mouse, curves to the hand and better precision when moving and better for tight spaces. i use one every day i like it better than a regular soap bar mouse.

  14. vonskippy says:

    Ironically, I just put together a Manipulator arm controlled mouse.

  15. tech-no-pest says:

    that’s so cool
    an @ M4CGYV3R quit being a prick…the shields are not something that the layman has much use for it in it’s self is a piece of hacker tech there for a hack. Plus the mouse is a pointing device and is being used to control an another device without the use or direct aid of a computer or laptop so there for that is a hack as well. PPYHOYA

  16. Boss says:

    Ok, new AMAZING idea:

    –  connect the robot arm to an iPhone 4 via Bluetooth.
    –  mount a small, outward-facing video camera onto the robotic arm, so you can see where the arm is via your Internet equipped iPhone 4, provided the video camera is wireless enabled as well.
    –  use the iPhone 4’s gyro to move the arm around and you would be able to SEE out of the wireless camera, from your iPhone 4’s screen.
    –  double-tap the iPhone 4’s screen and some switches appear, with enough room still available to be able to see out of the robotic arm.  The switches trigger the gyro’s control to and fro the entire robotic arm, and rotating, to rotate the grabber.
    –  with double-tapping also brings up a slider which can be used to close and open the grabber.

    Is this at ALL possible?!?!?!

  17. octel says:

    Hacking. Hacking never changes.

    The end of the hacking community occurred pretty much as we had predicted. Too many noobs, not enough parts or datasheets to go around. The details are trivial and pointless, the reasons, as always, purely nerdy ones.

  18. Philpax says:

    @octel: I love you for that reference.

  19. strider_mt2k says:

    Definitely need one of the Logitech mice with the freewheel on it.
    That alone would smooth out the jitters quite a bit.

    I’d love to see an update with one being used in place of the standard mouse.

  20. walkietokyo says:

    I can’t believe he didn’t hook the robotic arm up to the mouse to make it control itself.

    That would be an epic meta-moment.

  21. nah! says:

    using the wheel for these inputs sucks
    why not make button + mouse movement do the other jobs?

  22. Exec says:


    Definitely possible. Put down your “iPhone 4″ for a bit and get to work.

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