For those with an interest in robotics, there is little in this world more enticing than a robot arm. A rover may be able to drive around, but so can a cheap RC car. A robot arm, on the other hand, can do real work, like stacking blocks or moving colored balls from one bin to another. But what if you want to control that robot arm over the internet? Engineer Zero has a nice tutorial explaining exactly how to do that.
Engineer Zero started with a cheap OWI-535 “Robotic Arm Edge” kit, which isn’t much more than a toy. It comes with a cheap little controller that lets the user manually operate the arm, but that’s it. To upgrade it into a “real” robot arm, Engineer Zero connected its five motors to an Arduino Uno board through L9110 motor drivers. That let them control the robot arm from their computer and provided the potential for other kinds of control.
In this case, the control that Engineer Zero was interested in was remote. Not just from across the room, but from anywhere in the world. They already had the Arduino connected to a cheap old laptop, so they just needed a way to interact with that laptop from afar. To accomplish that, they used a Google Chrome extension called Chrome Remote Desktop. When installed on the local computer’s and remote computer’s browsers, that extension lets the remote computer control the local computer — the remote computer being a second laptop. Engineer Zero can take that second laptop anywhere in the world with an internet connection, and they’ll be able to control their robot arm.
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