Chapter 15. Using a Robotic Arm

The previous chapter discussed remotely controlling a wheeled robot. This chapter covers using a robotic arm, which is substantially different. Although robotic arms can be attached to a mobile robot, they are usually fixed to the floor or a table, and can therefore be directly connected to the PC that controls them with no need for wireless communication or an onboard PC.

There are many different types of articulated, robots, and arms are only a small subset. For example, bipedal humanoid robots are articulated, and so are robots that emulate snakes. However, the robot arms that build cars are probably one of the first and most successful applications of robotics in industry.

Relatively cheap hobby arms are available from several sources, such as Lynxmotion. This chapter shows you how to use a Lynx 6 robotic arm to do some simple operations. The L6 is a small, lightweight arm that is intended for hobbyists and education. The software on the book's website (www.proMRDS.com or www.wrox.com) includes a Lynx6Arm service for controlling the arm, as well as some examples demonstrating how to use it. The original service software and several of the photos in this chapter are courtesy of Lynxmotion.

A Lynx arm is not suitable for industrial use. For that you need something like a heavy-duty arm from KUKA. You might be interested in trying out the KUKA Educational Framework for MRDS, available for download from www.kuka.com.

The KUKA framework contains several ...

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