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Robotic Arm With Home-Brewed, Open Source Voice Control 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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Robotic Arm With Home-Brewed, Open Source Voice Control

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  • by h00manist ( 800926 ) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @09:03AM (#37611084) Journal

    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.

    • by Anrego ( 830717 ) *

      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

      • 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 res

    • 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.

      • 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.

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

    • 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.

    • 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.

  • by societyofrobots ( 1396043 ) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @09:08AM (#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: []

    all the documentation can be found here: []

  • 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 c

  • by Neil_Brown ( 1568845 ) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @09:21AM (#37611294) Homepage

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

  • 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?
    • User: Careful, robotic arm, don't strangle me!
      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.

  • 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?


  • I know a few voice activated commands [] that are probably missing.
  • This video demonstrates why people use remotes instead of voice control. Might be useful for disabled people though.

  • 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"

I use technology in order to hate it more properly. -- Nam June Paik