Pololu Blog (Page 11)

Welcome to the Pololu Blog, where we provide updates about what we and our customers are doing and thinking about. This blog used to be Pololu president Jan Malášek’s Engage Your Brain blog; you can view just those posts here.

Programming resources for the Maestro servo controllers

Posted by David on 16 September 2013


Programming resources for the Maestro servo controllers

Writing a computer program to interface with a USB device from scratch can be tough. Luckily, many users of our Maestro Servo Controller who have tackled this problem have been kind enough to share their results with the community. Example code for interfacing with the Maestro is available for over a dozen platforms: Arduino, C, C++, C#, LabVIEW, MATLAB, Node.js, Perl, PHP, Python, Visual Basic 6, Visual Basic .NET, and Visual C++.

You can now find all of this, and more, in the new Related Resources section of the Maestro User’s Guide, which we added last week. The new section also links to tutorials, example projects, and commercial software that is integrated with the Maestro. We hope this will make your next Maestro project easier!

Smartphone-controlled humanoid robot

Posted by Claire on 16 September 2013

This bipedal robot is controlled by an Android smartphone through a game pad, voice commands, or sensor gloves. It uses a custom Android API, which the creators plan to make open source, and two Maestro 24-channel servo controllers connected to the smart phone via USB. One Maestro is used to read 12 digital and 12 analog inputs, and the other is used to control 24 servos.

This robot was designed and made by Seeberger Robotics & Design, a startup company based in Switzerland. You can see more of their designs on their website.

New products: Optical encoders for micro metal gearmotors

Posted by Ben on 13 September 2013
Tags: new products

Those encoders we mentioned last week are finally here! Here are some pictures:

Check out the product page for more details.

Sample project: Wixel USB Joystick

Posted by Kevin on 12 September 2013
Sample project: Wixel USB Joystick

We’ve published a new sample project that shows you how to use the Wixel and its Joystick App to convert a non-USB joystick into a USB device. This guide walks you through the whole process: all you have to do is make the right wiring connections and configure the app on the Wixel; no programming is required.

Check out the project page to see how we converted a Tandy Deluxe Joystick and learn how to adapt your own input device with a Wixel!

Related post: Joystick App for Wixel now available

Wirelessly-controlled robot with PIC and nRF24L01+

Posted by Jamee on 10 September 2013

In this video, Amjad Al-Ahdal demonstrates his wirelessly-controlled robot with multiple modes that he programmed in C. The robot contains a PIC18F2455 microcontroller, an nRF24L01+ transceiver, a SN754410 motor driver IC, a Pololu wheel and encoder set, and two 100:1 Micro Metal Gearmotors. Its controller has a homemade keypad, another transceiver, a 9DOF sensor, and a serial 16×2 LCD screen.

The Robot Quartet

Posted by Kevin on 10 September 2013

The Robot Quartet is an art installation by Andres Wanner that features four marker-equipped 3pi robots working together to create drawings. The robots receive identical commands and draw repetitive patterns on the same surface.

You can see more pictures of the completed artworks on Andres’s website.

Node.js module for Maestro servo controllers

Posted by David on 9 September 2013
Node.js module for Maestro servo controllers

The node-pololumaestro project is a module for the Node.js platform that allows you to control a Maestro USB Servo Controller over its serial interface from a Node.js program. This module provides functions like maestro.setTarget(0, 1500) and internally takes care of assembling the bytes of the serial command for you. The module was written by Owen McAree and was recently expanded by achingbrain. We always like to see our customers helping each other through projects like this!

Four new NEMA 23 hybrid stepper motors

Posted by Paul on 6 September 2013
Tags: new products

We have expanded our selection of NEMA 23-size stepper motors:

Three of the steppers are in a new 57×56 mm size. We are carrying three voltage/current options: 7.4V, 1 A/phase, 3.6V, 2 A/phase, and 2.5V, 2.8 A/phase.


We have also added a new 4.5V, 2 A/phase option to our selection of larger 57×76 mm stepper motors, at an intermediate point between the 8.6V, 1 A/phase and 3.2V, 2.8 A/phase motors.


We carry one other NEMA 23-size motor in a 57×41mm, 5.7V, 1 A/phase configuration, as well as many other stepper motors.

Adding audio to an m3pi with a SpeakJet

Posted by Jamee on 5 September 2013

In this video, Jerry Guttman shows off his Pololu m3pi Robot combined with the SpeakJet Phraselator Speech Development System. The SpeakJet chip was developed by Magnevation and allows for speech synthesis and robot sound effects.

Small things in the pipeline

Posted by Ben on 4 September 2013

Here’s a sneak peek at some encoder wheels we are developing for our micro metal gearmotors: