The Baxter robot can be easily trained to perform actions by simply moving his arms and grippers with your own hands while he records the motions. Analog feedback servos provide a way around the complicated kinematics necessary to make robotic arms operate efficiently. Interacting with a robotic arm is lots of fun and being able to actual teach it to carry out tasks is futuristic-cool.
You can build one of these trainable robotic arms because Adafruit sells the crucial analog feedback servos that make this technology possible.
3D printing allows anyone to make robotic parts. We will be printing an arm and gripper for this project, but you could swap out the servos in an existing robotic arm also.
For more details on the servos, check out the About Analog Feedback Servos write up.
Analog Feedback Servo – It looks like a servo, it acts like a servo, but it’s more than just a servo! We got a factory to custom-make these classic ‘standard’ sized hobby servos with a twist – the feedback (potentiometer wiper) line is brought out to a fourth white wire. You can read this wire with an analog input such as those on an Arduino, to get the servo’s position. That information can be used in robotics to improve stability or even allow ‘recording’ of servo motion.
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