A HID For Robots

Whether with projects featured here or out in the real world, we have a tendency to focus most upon the end product. The car, solar panel, or even robot. But there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes that needs to be taken care of as well, whether it’s fuel infrastructure to keep the car running, a semiconductor manufacturer to create silicon wafers, or a control system for the robot. This project is one of the latter: a human interface device for a robot arm that is completely DIY.

While robots are often automated, some still need human input. The human input can be required all the time, or can be used to teach the robot initially how to perform a task which will then be automated. This “keyboard” of sorts built by [Ahmed] comes with a joystick, potentiometer, and four switch inputs that are all fully programmable via an Arduino Due. With that, you can perform virtually any action with whatever type of robot you need, and since it’s based on an Arduino it would also be easy to expand.

The video below and project page have all the instructions and bill of materials if you want to roll out your own. It’s a pretty straightforward project but one that might be worth checking out since we don’t often feature controllers for other things, although we do see them sometimes for controlling telescopes rather than robots.



5 thoughts on “A HID For Robots

  1. why do this instead of off the shelf xbox/ps controller? Even US Navy finally realized custom control consoles are stupid, because expensive and non standard (needs training, lots of operator error).

    1. Have you ever tried to control a robotic arm with an off the shelf controller?

      We built a mobile robot for the RoboCup rescue leauge, where we needed to control a relatively simple (4dof) arm and ended up with the following interface:

      Yes we have tried an XBox controller first, and the current solution is far more usable which can be seen from the dexterity results.

  2. Well our Navy has made a few lefthanded (sinister) mistakes lately. Having spent less than 5 minutes on one of those left thumb twidgets I decline to go further. I have seen a lot of Kraft joysticks used in mil apps in videos.

    On the lite note HID: human, AID alien, and RID robot. The thing in the middle looks a lot like that knob R2D2 uses, definitely a RID. But does it turn?

  3. I always get a little bothered by this.

    Its basically just ‘radio’ controlled by a human but we call them robots. Robots really are “a machine capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically, especially one programmable by a computer.”

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