Tag Archives: robots

Robot arm controlled with an old computer keyboard

They’re hard to find nowadays. Except if you go to a skip. Or a school.  I had an old keyboard lying around so followed a tutorial to get it to work with an Arduino. It’s got 4 cables – Power, Ground, Data and IRQ. You can get adapters or just take the cables apart.

You need this library - it’s pskeyboard.h

I then got my robot arm – available online for about  £35owi-535-robotic-arm-edge_1

I just took the wires for the motors rather than using the control box.

Then I used the Adafruit MotorShield V2.3


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Easy to program drag and drop robot using Bluetooth

Started using Snap 4 Arduino. You’re able to connect a robot using Bluetooth and control it using the Bluetooth connections.

But on of the advantages of Snap 4 Arduino is that you can create your own custom blocks. These blocks can then be used like functions – just drag the block to the script and it runs the underlying function.

This then makes it easy for children to create a simple sequence without worrying about coding. The robot can then run wirelessly.


This video shows how easy it is to use.

Robot coding using text based coding in a primary school

Great trip to Brampton primary school. We used Arduino text based coding to control robots. Text coding is harder as it needs words to be spelt correctly and all grammar and punctuation in the right place.

Once the code is uploaded,  the robot can simply be controlled with a battery.  The children performed a range of manouevres including squares.

Controlling a robot arm with the Pi and Scratch GPIO

This demonstration uses Scratch GPIO developed by Simon Walters at Cymplecy. The robot can be purchased for about £25 – £30 such as through Rapid. It’s not too difficult to build – but you need to keep the wires separate so you can wire them up.

5 motors needs 15 GPIO pins. Each motor needs 2 motor direction controls and a power control. I wired them up to some H bridges and connected them to the Pi. Scratch GPIO can give a lot of outputs.

Once connected, it’s a simple case of altering  motor directions and turning power on and off. With time, you could program complex manouvres.