PORTFOLIO > Web-Controlled RoboClaw

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When? May 2009 - August 2009
Tell the Claw to do your Bidding!

 What is the RoboClaw, and why did I Make it?

The RoboClaw, as it’s name implies, is a robotic, 5-degree-of-freedom robotic claw that you can control over the internet.  It’s based on the popular Edge Robotic Arm, Parallax Propeller Microcontroller, some Solid State Relays, and a PINK serial-enabled webserver.  By pairing these things with a custom web interface and a network enabled webcam, it’s possible to both monitor and control the claw over an internet connection.  After completing my prosthetics research, a friend got me the robotic arm as a gag gift.  I had fun using the arcade-style controller for about an hour, and then I got bored.  Conveniently, Parallax had just listed me on their “Winner’s Circle” page, and had sent me a propeller development kit as a congratulations for being an Intel Science Talent Search Finalist.  5 minutes later, the I had stripped the Claw’s control wires, wired up the Propeller, and started programming.

System Components

Control Board

Controller Board

Axis Network Camera

Axis Network Cam

Serial-Enabled Webserver


Monitoring and Control WebsiteControl Webpage
The System controller includes power conditioning circuitry, a parallax propeller microcontroller, solid state relays, and communications LEDS.  When the propeller receives a serial command from the webserver, is opens or closes the appropriate relays to control the claw. A network webcam is mounted above the setup and streamed into an embedded viewing window in the claw-control website.  The stream is real time, enabling lag-free claw control. A small webserver holds the website files and serves them up to a client browser.  When it receives the appropriate commands from the website, it uses a serial connection to the propeller to instruct it how to control the claw. The website features a virtual image of the claw, and a live feed from a network webcam.  When the user clicks on the arrows on the image, a javascript query is sent to the webserver, which can then send commands to the micocontroller to move the claw as desired.

System Demonstration and Video Walkthrough

RoboClaw Schematics, Source Code, and Web Files

The RoboClaw is comprised of entirely open source hardware and software.  You can download all materials in the GitHub Repository.  This project is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike.

Creative Commons Open SourceOpen Source HardwareGet it on GitHub

My Blog Posts about the RoboClaw: