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DIY Robotic Arm Control with Beaglebone Black

Submitted By: 

Shalini Verma

In a tutorial by Ben Martin, an explanation about the project is given which elucidate that how a robotic arm can be controlled with the BeagleBone Black and can be manipulated according to real world objects that execute certain routine tasks. Depending on the number of servo motors used in the robotic arm, more is the flexibility defined along with cost and control complexity.

Serial Servo Controller or SSC-32, positioned next to robotic arm is responsible for accepting commands on a serial port and control up to 32 servos. Although BeagleBone Black is proficient in directly controlling servos, but SSC-32 can handle speed-based servo movement as well as consign multiple servo movements composed into a single logical action.

The robot arm can be assembled straightforwardly as it comes in the kit format and instructions for assembly are available online in the video format.The only difference in practical is experienced while bolting the robot arm base to something as it can easily topple over if the arm is not secured.

The BeagleBone Black digital pins operate at 3.3 volts and the SSC-32 operates at 5 V. The data from the BeagleBone Black is sent to the SSC-32 at 3.3 V and will be detected as a "high" signal level on the SSC-32. While establishing serial communication from the SSC-32 to the BeagleBone Black,supplementary care is needed to shift down the voltage level to 3.3 V or lower. A 4.5 universal asynchronous receiver/transmitters (UARTs) is held by BeagleBone Black in the power and ground end of P9. It allows wiring to be done conveniently and one doesn’t have to count too far along any header.

For setting up the Beaglebone Black, the Bonescript library is used that supports for serial IO and allows interacting with the serial port using the bonescript API. Check out the following link for complete detail.