Robotics is a hot topic of discussion on blogs, online technical journals, and industry trade magazines. Design News has covered a variety of robotic applications and systems for its readers over the years. In keeping with this highly visible and mainstream subject, Design News readers will find this robotic arm that can be operated using a desktop PC, notebook computer, Android phone, or tablet of interest. Global Specialties, a manufacturer of test equipment and electronics prototyping and training tools, has developed a desktop robotic arm that can be programmed in C or operated by a computer-based teach pendant, a keypad, Android mobile phone, or tablet. The robotic arm has expandable operating controls features and can easily be modified using external sensors or other electronic interfacing circuits.
The Global Specialties Model R700 Vector Robotic Arm. (Source: Global Specialties)
R700 Vector Robotic Arm Basic Components
The R700 Vector Robotic Arm is built from a multitude of electronic and electromechanical components. The manual that comes with the robotic arm provides component details and how they are used with the mechatronics machine. The robotic arm comprises several subsections or units that provide articulating movement or Degrees of Freedom (DoF) for the programmable electronics and electromechanical system.
The R700 Vector Robotic Arm Block Diagram consists of several basic subsection components that make up the overall mechatronics system. (Source: Don Wilcher)
Here’s the explanation of the components that make up the R700 Vector Robotic Arm.
The power supply provides the necessary electrical voltage to operate the electronics and electromechanical components of the R700 Vector Robotic Arm. The robotic arm can operate from a power supply ranging from 9V DC to 14V DC at 3A to 4A. The R700 Vector Robotic Arm system is supplied with an AC adapter meeting the power supply requirements listed.
Human engagement with the robotic arm by way of Teach Pendant interaction, keypad, and actuator control is managed by the logic controller. The main processing component for the R700 machine is the Atmel ATMEGA64 8-bit microcontroller. The ATMEGA64 microcontroller has a processing operating speed of 16MIPs (million instructions per second) based on a clock frequency of 16MHz. Memory capabilities of 64KB Flash ROM, 4KB SRAM, and 2KB of EEPROM allow sophisticated robotic tasks to be executed easily and effectively. Programming tasks can be implemented using the popular C- language and the WinAVR/avr-gcc coding toolchain or the computer-based teach pendant.
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In addition to C instruction processing capabilities of the R700 Vector Robotic Arm, the ATMEGA64 microcontroller is responsible for operating the six servo motors. The six port pins of the ATMEGA64 microcontroller provide the PCM (pulse coded modulation) control signals for providing robotics servo motors’ angular rotation. To prevent over extension of the robotic arms’ mechanical appendages,