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Real-Time Robot Arm Control


A combination of Blender, Python, Processing and Ardiuno hardware controls a robot arm in real time.

cboirum writes:

Blender 2.59 does the 3D modeling and inverse kinematics (IK). Real-time control is handled by the Blender Game Engine using videogame like keyboard input. A Python 3.2 script (Blender 2.59 comes prebuilt with Python 3.2) is running inside of Blender and continually sends joint angles to a socket port.

A Processing (also free and open source software) program is running as a socket server and recieves a string of angles from Python.

I have an Arduino Uno (open source microprocessor board) recieving commands from the processing sketch through a USB/Serial Port connection. I used this set of Arduino receiver/Processing sender programs to run the RC servos:

This is part of an open source mechatronics training project I am putting together for work. Now that the software and computer interface phase of the project is mostly complete, this simple (and I find hilarious) RC servo mockup will soon be replaced with a Scortec - ER 1 5-axis robot arm (on loan from Probotix). I plan to demonstrate the final product as an interactive exhibit at the ChiBots booth at the iHobby Expo in Rosemont Chicago on Oct 22-23rd 2011.

Read the full project description on his YouTube page.

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. I say exactly as the first one posted: This could really be useful if you for example build your own motion control with Arduino, stepmotors and more...

  2. Amazing, I actually thought about something like that might come along to pave the way for advanced pre-recorded movement sets for artificial limbs or robotics and here you are taking the first steps.

    Just please keep up the good work and watch out for time traveling cyborg assassins :)

  3. How coincidental. I'm working on an almost identical project. A robotic arm powered by RC servos controlled by an Arduino. I've got the arm all built and am working on the model and programming now.

  4. Looks great. What's the best place to download and for tutorials for Arduino Uno, or did you just use that board with Blender command line?

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