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Robotic Arm With Home-Brewed, Open Source Voice Control

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the pure-distilled-awesome dept.

Hardware Hacking 33

First time accepted submitter aonsquared writes "A couple of months ago I managed to scoop up a cheap (£30) robot arm with a USB interface from Maplin (I'm in the UK). Following a wrist injury which left me without the use of my right hand for 4 weeks, I decided to build it for a little hacking project. Using Linux, libusb and other freely available tools, I have enabled the robot arm to respond to my voice commands. I've posted a full tutorial and downloadable source code, as well as a demonstration video. Hopefully, open-source voice recognition as well as devices like the Kinect (which has spawned hundreds of different cool hacks) can someday revolutionise the way we interact with computers and machines."

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Open source is great for small projects (3, Insightful)

h00manist (800926) | about 3 years ago | (#37611084)

Would be cool is someone came up with more ways to help bigger projects continue and conclude. Lots of help for developers, I guess. Reduce disagreements, forking, incompatibilities for no good reason, some economic engineering, better developer tools, libraries, etc.

Re:Open source is great for small projects (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37611118)

Pfft, what's with you communists looking at the bigger picture! The programmers ego is more interested in putting "lead developer" on their CV.

Re:Open source is great for small projects (2)

Anrego (830717) | about 3 years ago | (#37611262)

Anyone who has every worked with people who arn't getting paid (doesn't just apply to open source, but to community volunteering and other such stuff as well) knows these problems well.

If people are not getting anything back besides good feelings from their work.. it takes a lot of diplomacy sometimes to keep everyone working together while still staying focuses on what you are trying to do.

Open source is especially hard, because as we know, as programmers we tend to have very extreme and differing opinions. You can't make everyone happy, at the end of the day you have to pick a direction and everyone has to go with it. Failure to do so is why we have the kind of excessive forking and massive feature bloat.

The only successful way I've seen is to have people who are devoted enough to the end goal to let the occasional thing slide. "ok fine, we'll do it that way and I'll get behind it, because seeing this thing finished is more important than using my prefered approach". In other words, you need someone who gets people excited about what they are working on. In other words, you need the geek equivilant of motivational speakers. These people are rare (and I'm definitely not one).

Re:Open source is great for small projects (1)

h00manist (800926) | about 3 years ago | (#37611770)

It all boils down to one thing - developer support. Open source needs more coordinated developer support, in many forms. Google Summer of Code was a great idea. Crowdfunding, Kickstarter, etc, Humble Bundle, bounties, etc, are helping find a financial model, which I have great hope for - money is an important recognition too. Being able to put it on resumes, getting proper recognition for quality work, could apparently be better, but already works. What I don't see happening too well is mediation to resolve conflicts, which end up getting in the way too often, and some efforts to increase compatibility, improve tools, etc. The best way to increase compatibility, it seems, is really just reaching agreements on open standards. Many proposals and discussions on creating open standards for things is the only way everyone will try to make things according to some common design. The telecom and IT industry are full of examples of how common standards made things work better for everyone.

Open source is great for *large* projects (1)

ron_ivi (607351) | about 3 years ago | (#37613614)

Open source is great for small projects

Really? Small projects often struggle to get the momentum in a community for open source to start showing benefits.

IMHO, in contrast it's large projects (OS's, database technologies (both sql and non-traditional), compiler chains, Gnu CoreUtils) that benefit most from F/OSS -- since those are the ones with enough components that need to bring to getter skills from across industries to benefit from large distributed groups of contributors.

TL/DR: Open Source is great for *large* projects.

Who does open source work for? (1)

h00manist (800926) | about 3 years ago | (#37624340)

IMHO, in contrast it's large projects (OS's, database technologies (both sql and non-traditional), compiler chains, Gnu CoreUtils) that benefit most from F/OSS

You only gave examples of projects that are of interest to the programmers themselves. Products for themselves.

Mmm... Beer... (2)

Elyas (59360) | about 3 years ago | (#37611130)

I read robot and home brewed and hoped someone had invented their own personal home brewing robot. Oh well, the dream lives on

Re:Mmm... Beer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37611442)

I read robot and home brewed and hoped someone had invented their own personal home brewing robot. Oh well, the dream lives on

Does this count?

http://www.asciimation.co.nz/bender/index.html

Home building robot (1)

h00manist (800926) | about 3 years ago | (#37611814)

And I thought you were talking about a home building robot. Which I think could be done, with some robots working with compressed earth and forms. Compressed earth is amazingly solid, and easily made from regular soil and water, it's just a whole lot of manual labor.

Re:Mmm... Beer... (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 3 years ago | (#37612462)

Looks like your mind went to a lot nicer place than a lot of the posters who came later than you. I'd much prefer a robot to brew my beer than do the other thing.

Re:Mmm... Beer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37615776)

Brewing?
That beats one that'd make you go blind if you use it too much...

an entire voice-controlled robot, open sourced (3, Interesting)

societyofrobots (1396043) | about 3 years ago | (#37611138)

I've also done an entire robot voice controlled, with wheels and two arms, and all the hardware and software are open source (done to the smallest detail, and easy to understand).

the video can be found here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=nEOwTzV8qak [youtube.com]

all the documentation can be found here:
http://www.societyofrobots.com/robot_ERP.shtml [societyofrobots.com]

One Trick Pony. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37611168)

And the only command it currently obeys is "spank the monkey"

Re:One Trick Pony. (2)

boristdog (133725) | about 3 years ago | (#37611422)

Well, if you want to make money off your invention, this is the fastest way to do it.

More advanced compound commands (2)

leonem (700464) | about 3 years ago | (#37611212)

It would be nice to see this combined with something like Apple's new voice interface (I'm sure there are other equivalents) to parse a more complex grammar.

Even something like "left" vs "left a bit" vs "left a lot" would be enough to make this a more natural interface.

Great stuff though, nonetheless. I remember ten years ago when I was at Cambridge the engineers having a competition to build robotic arms to pick up screws, half of them couldn't get it to work, and that was in a reproducible situation, no controls, as many attempts as needed etc.

Re:More advanced compound commands (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37612948)

> Even something like "left" vs "left a bit" vs "left a lot" would be enough to make this a more natural interface.

Possibly even "throw the harpoon." People are going to come from all over... this boy's an Eskimo!

Why buy one new from Maplin (2)

Neil_Brown (1568845) | about 3 years ago | (#37611294)

... when you could just buy one second hand?

Re:Why buy one new from Maplin (1)

monkeyhybrid (1677192) | about 3 years ago | (#37611574)

Well it didn't cost him an arm and a leg for a brand new one.

Technicality? (1)

Jaqenn (996058) | about 3 years ago | (#37611306)

If the robot arm seizes you by the throat, and you're unable to vocalize the words 'stop choking me!', does it still count as disobeying you?

Or by programming error: (1)

MrHanky (141717) | about 3 years ago | (#37611522)

User: Careful, robotic arm, don't strangle me!
Robotic Arm: SYNTAX ERROR ON WORD 4: UNESCAPED APOSTROPHE FOUND. PROCEEDING EXECUTING COMMAND!
User: I said DON'T strangle me, don [carrier lost]
Robotic Arm: SYNTAX ERROR ON WORD 3: ...

Remember with open source: release early, release often.

Re:Technicality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37613912)

Robot arms need a safe-word indeed, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-VJLz65QhM

Now stroke it slowly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37611312)

"Mmmm, that feels good... now a little faster... a little faster..."

Robot arms are a cool project. (1)

meburke (736645) | about 3 years ago | (#37611502)

Sound control! Good on ya!

Just recently I've been trying to do more work with robot arms and vision (as opposed to movement and balance), and I'm looking for good projects to copy and learn from. This is pretty cool.

Anybody remember a link to a project for a robot-arm shooter that was mentioned on /. a few years ago?
Anyone have any links to some other good projects?
Anyone have any good links to robotic cranes with arms?

Thanks.

Awesome( fp (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37611604)

some intelligent and enjoy all the ASSOCIATION OF too, can be a driven out by the irc.easynews.com Keep uunecessary states that there I see the same that the project the mundane chores and distraction Prima donnas, and in time. For all I see the same ~280MB MPEG off of and I probably And mortifying EVERYDAY...REDEFINE TOPS RESPONSIBILITY users. BSD/OS continues to lose rotting corpse poor priorities, say I'm packing Out how to make the you need tO succeed take a look at the the wind appeared themselves to be a United States. if desired, we the system clean are about 7000/5 the project to been many, not the Gig in front of interest in having GAY NIGGERS from contaminated while rapid,

Wrist injury... chortle chortle..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37611712)

Following a suspicious wrist injury (cough).... left my without the use of my right hand (cough).... voice recognition includes 'faster' and 'harder'..... :) Ha ha ha!

Yeah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37611732)

Yeah, you're gonna want to do some practice runs on a hot dog first.

Power Word (1)

TitusC3v5 (608284) | about 3 years ago | (#37611750)

I know a few voice activated commands [penny-arcade.com] that are probably missing.

Thought of a different article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37612446)

When I saw the title I was hoping to read about someone who built a robot in his basement to automatically do some home brewed beer. Then, when your friends are over it would dispense perfectly poured pints.

Cool but a remote would be more effective (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 3 years ago | (#37612680)

This video demonstrates why people use remotes instead of voice control. Might be useful for disabled people though.

hey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37612938)

"Why are you hitting yourself? Stop hitting yourself!"

Big Bang Theory? (1)

MrQuacker (1938262) | about 3 years ago | (#37613006)

Wasn't this the entire premise behind an episode of The Big Bang Theory?

So when you "interact" with the robot hand, be sure to program in a command to "release gripper"

Hmm... What would I try... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37615438)

Up.....Down.......Up.......Down......Up....Down..UP..DOWN..UP.DOWN!!!

Patent Application (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37635408)

http://www.google.com/patents?printsec=description&zoom=4&id=84vwAAAAEBAJ&output=text&pg=PA6

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