Servo Claw Game Puts Your Muscles To The Test

As fun as claw games are, the jaws are always disappointingly weak, and you usually end up with bupkis. What if the jaws were completely within your  control? That’s the idea behind [Upside Down Labs]’ muscle-controlled servo claw game.

While electromyography (EMG) is great for identifying neuro-muscular abnormalities and allows for amazing prosthetic limbs to work, it can also be used for fun. As you’ll see in the video after the break, accurate block-stacking (and possible candy-grabbing) depends on teamwork and tensed muscles.

Though the user provides the muscle, the brains behind this operation is an Arduino Uno with a Muscle BioAmp shield stacked on top, which [Upside Down Labs] also created. This shield makes it ridiculously easy to connect EMG sensors and other I²C devices like screens and, well, servo claws. From there, it’s really just a matter of printing the claw, connecting it to a 9g servo, and using an accompanying kit to prepare the skin and connect the muscles to the Arduino. Be sure to check it out in tense block-stacking action after the break.

If you want to listen in on your muscles, look no further than the BioAmp EMG Pill.

5 thoughts on “Servo Claw Game Puts Your Muscles To The Test

  1. To be exact, the claws are configured to be disappointingly weak in a predefined number of cases in order to make the claw games profitable. It is a game of chance pretending to be a game of skill.

    1. In some/many jurisdictions it is illegal for them to be games of chance, since children play them and normally games of chance require a gambling permit. Here, they are set to provide a replay until one wins, and profitability is controlled by prize selections. For example, first attempt will have a larger/better prize section unlocked, then later attempts will be for smaller stuff, valued less than the cost of a play.

      I’d be kinda surprised if many at all have pure chance mechanisms; achievement of a small prize really cuts down on vandalism and damage. It was true chance back in the day, but not so often true any more.

  2. @Kristina Panos said: “As fun as claw games are, the jaws are always disappointingly weak, and you usually end up with bupkis.”

    bupkis or bub·kes [buhp-kuhs, buhp-kis] [1]


    1. nothing: They’ve told us bupkis—we’re going to have to find out what’s going on for ourselves.

    2. very little; the smallest amount: It was a revolutionary piece of technology, and yet the inventor sold it for bupkis.

    Origin of bupkis [1]:

    First recorded in 1935–40; from Yiddish bobkes, plural of bobke “piece of goat excrement, worthless thing,” literally “little bean,” from Slavic, equivalent to Polish bób “broad bean” + -ke, diminutive suffix; see also bean

    * References:

    1. Bupkis

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