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Thread: Spark Core controlling Dynamixel XL-320 servo, adding IoT to a great actuator.

  1. #1
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    Spark Core controlling Dynamixel XL-320 servo, adding IoT to a great actuator.

    Hello everybody I would like to share here a work in progress I'm doing with Spark Core IoT-ready board.
    First of all, what is Spark Core?
    Basically Spark Core is the easiest way to add a Cloud to your projects (robots, devices, etc.) it gives you the chance to control over the internet your project thanks to the Spark Cloud. To learn more I encourage you to go and visit their webpage: http://spark.io

    As I'm developing a very ambitious project named HelloSpoon robot (http://hellospoonrobot.com), which is a social robot that's intended to help children and elderly to eat; the addition of giving the option to control this little robot over the internet is a great feature.
    To make this possible I had to start developing a specific library to control my robot which can be found here: https://github.com/HelloSpoon/HelloSpoon-Spark
    The library is not finished yet but it's working to send commands to my DYNAMIXEL XL-320 servos (which are the ones being used in the "robotic trunk" from HelloSpoon robot).
    To add full-control over DYNAMIXEL XL-320 servos there's a need to develop a shield to permit the RX/TX commands to work and to manage the power for Spark Core and servos, plus switches and stuff like that.

    Right now the library is focus to work only for HelloSpoon robot, but when the shield is finished and tested this library will be ported to make it work with DYNAMIXEL XL-320 (matter of change methods and clean the code) and the same shield could be used to control them.
    This means, that any robot (or device) using DYNAMIXEL XL-320 and a Spark Core is going to be able to be controlled over the internet!

    Here's the first testing video where you are going to see how it's working:



    If you have any question feel free to ask :-)
    I would love to know if there are more DYNAMIXEL and Spark Core users here that might be interested in a development of this kind.

    Update:

    Controlling more than one Dynamixel XL-320 :-)!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by LuisGIII; 01-20-2015 at 07:54 PM.

  2. #2

    Re: Spark Core controlling Dynamixel XL-320 servo, adding IoT to a great actuator.

    Spark Core is the easiest way to add a Cloud to your projects
    If you have any question feel free to ask :-)
    I hadn't heard about the SparkCore before. Could you compare the SparkCore to something like a ESP2286 wife/tcp/serial interface module? It seems that Adafruit sells the SparkCore for $40, while eBay sells the ESP2286 for $3.00...

  3. #3
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    Re: Spark Core controlling Dynamixel XL-320 servo, adding IoT to a great actuator.

    Hello jwatte,

    I recommend you take a look to their webpage to learn more but let me answer your question :-)
    No, Spark Core is not comparable to the ESP2286 module.

    It's a 32 bit ARM microcontroller (not a module) with a Wifi module attached but it's not only a Wifi module because each Spark Core has their own "Spark Cloud" this means you can access it over the internet without doing any major configuration only entering your user credentials.
    So, thanks to this you can monitor and control over the internet your device/robot without having to develop your own server and then open ports on your modem or use port forwarding.
    Plus, as I mentioned before you have a 32 bit ARM... which gives you enough "horse power" to create complex projects (There are existent wrappers to use JavaScript, NodeJs, Python, Ruby, etc).
    You should take a look to their page, so you can see what I'm talking about: https://spark.io

    They also have a new board named Photon ($19) which is basically the same as Spark Core ($39). You can see them here: https://store.spark.io

    I hope this explanation is good enough for you hehe
    I don't work for them I swear :-)!

    If you get one, and have Dynamixel servos then I guess that the library and shield I'm working on could be useful for you!
    I'll release them as Open Source when everything's finished.

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    Re: Spark Core controlling Dynamixel XL-320 servo, adding IoT to a great actuator.

    The ESP modules are really cool, but not really much of a stand alone device until someone figures out how to use the SDK to get the on-board MCU to do general computing. Not many GPIO and unlikely to have FCC-certification, but the modules are so adorably small and work with any 3.3V UART. Have some ESP-05 and ESP-07 in my cart from a US reseller, but not convinced myself to buy them yet.

    The Intel Edison is supposed to be a much more powerful alternative to the spark-core and similar IoT modules, but, as KurtE and others have noted, their software support for some of the interfaces is lacking. Will be interesting to see how they compare, especially on software support.
    Please pardon the pedantry... and the profanity... and the convoluted speech pattern...
    "You have failed me, Brain!"
    bleh
    more bleh

  5. #5

    Re: Spark Core controlling Dynamixel XL-320 servo, adding IoT to a great actuator.

    Quote Originally Posted by tician View Post
    The Intel Edison is supposed to be a much more powerful alternative to the spark-core and similar IoT modules, but, as KurtE and others have noted, their software support for some of the interfaces is lacking. Will be interesting to see how they compare, especially on software support.
    The most frustrating part with Intel on this, is the lack of information... Example responses during the last day:
    I saw your DOOM project and it is great!!. About your last questions, we can not discuss information about future releases
    So far we’ve not have any updates on the new release, but it is expected to be released soon. When available an announcement will be made in the community.
    Note: the release was expected by the end of last year....

    But hopefully SOON? Sorry will continue on Edison thread

  6. #6

    Re: Spark Core controlling Dynamixel XL-320 servo, adding IoT to a great actuator.

    Thanks for the update! I did go to the spark.io website initially, and they were talking about the Phantom, not the Spark Core.
    So, a OpenCM9.04 (or a Teensy 3.1) plus a ESP2286 would be about the same as a Phantom -- except Phantom comes on a single board, and has some supporting software services? Gotcha!

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