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Part of The definitive guide to open source hardware projects in 2009

Robotics – From controlling motors to a robot arm you can make yourself, robotics is a new and growing category in open source hardware. While there’s not a ton of projects many robotics groups are using Arduinos (FIRST is now) so I think we’ll see this category double and triple in 2010, here are some of the early pioneers.

Easy Driver
09402-1
The EasyDriver is a simple to use stepper motor driver, compatible with anything that can output a digital 0 to 5V pulse. EasyDriver requires a 7V to 30V supply to power the motor, and has an on board voltage regulator for the digital interface. Connect a 4-wire stepper motor and a microcontroller and you’ve got precision motor control! EasyDriver drives bi-polar motors, and motors wired as bi-polar. I.e. 4,6, or 8 wire stepper motors.
Price: $14.95
Visit the project page


Robot arm
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A five axis robotic arm design controlled by rather inexpensive hobby servos (material and cutting cost about USD$150) – loads of fun to play with, and we think potentially very useful for more serious pursuits.
Price: Various
Visit the project page


OpenServo
Openservov3
OpenServo is an open community-based project with the goal of creating a high quality digital servo for robotics.
Price: Various
Visit the project page


Twitchie
Pt 2387
Make your bots and plushies come to life! Twitchie is an amazingly lifelike animated armature that’s Arduino-powered and comes preprogrammed, making it an excellent kit for beginners in robotics. No programming required! You can download and modify the code if you want, and it’s pretty light on soldering, too. We recommend Twitchie for young makers (both boys and girls) interested in robotics or in bringing plush toys to life.
Price: $99.95
Visit the project page
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Price: $
Visit the project page


Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. rbean says:

    Here’s another open source stepper driver:
    http://www.piclist.com/tecHREF/io/stepper/linistep/index.htm

    This one is designed so that most of the heat is dissipated in the driver rather than the stepper motor, so you can put a big heatsink on the driver board and the motors stay cool. Costs a little more, but it’s an interesting design.

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