Game robot arm control design

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Dr. Benesóczky Zoltán
Department of Measurement and Information Systems

While doing my thesis I got to know the Velleman KSR10 robotic toy arm. I have been studying this robotic arm from both a mechanical and an electronical point of view. I did some research on the mathematics of these kind of robotic arms and especially on the coordinate systems they use to move the arm to a specific position. I set up a coordinate system myself where an end-effector’s position can be given. An end-effector is the end of the robotic arm that can grab things with its pliers. During my research, I defined the equation systems required to move every segment of the arm so that the end-effector would move to the given position in the coordinate system. The arms actual position is monitored by various sensors. I researched the sensors used nowadays and picked the ones that were the most suitable for my project. I planned a control system based on a microcontroller development board powered by a PSoC 5 microcontroller. I made the schematics and the layout for the PCB, which contains a self-designed expansion board that can turn on or off the motors in the robotic arm depending on the control signals coming from the microcontroller. The sensors, which are mounted to the arm itself, connect to this expansion board. What is more, this expansion board is also capable of measuring the current consumed by each individual motor. For further developmental purposes, the PCB has connectors for additional sensors and pieces of hardware which can be used to move the arm in a more precise way, but were unused in my project. Developing a software was also part of my thesis, which runs on the microcontroller that is responsible for moving the arm based on the data provided by the sensors. I wrote an easy to use library that provides the functions for the final program. This library can be used in future projects to further develop the robot’s controls. The operation of the robot is done by a regular computer. I designed and implemented a communication protocol between the computer and the microcontroller. During my work, I developed a user-friendly Windows application, which can be used to move the robotic arm to a specific position in its own coordinate system. To conclude my thesis, I brainstormed ideas for further projects that can be made in the future using this robotic arm.


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