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As part of a thesis project, I'm working on control strategies for two finger robots. Robotiq's 140 mm, 2 finger gripper seems ideal for this but I'm wondering about different methods of controlling the device. Ideally, I'd like to use a microprocessor such as an Arduino (or something similar but more powerful if the control strategies become too demanding) to send commands to the gripper. Would this be possible or are there any similar strategies I could use that would work well for this type of application?


  • matthewd92matthewd92 Founding Pro, Tactile Sensor Beta Testers Posts: 1,131 Handy
    @stevenholwerda controlling the gripper remotely is possible, the question is whether an Arduino can do it or if you will need something more along the lines of a BeagleBone Black or Raspberry Pi to get access to more libraries.  I have never used an Arduino so not sure.  

    As as far as communicating to the gripper here's some documentation on how to do that via Modbus RTU over either the USB to RS485 converter or directly via RS485. We're doing something similar on another project but we write all of our code in nodejs. The biggest difference with that project is we are strictly reading data so no writing to the registers but it looks rather straightforward just briefly reading over the docs. 


    If I get some spare time in the next week or two I may try to do this as I happen to have a spare gripper currently that is not deployed.
  • stevenholwerdastevenholwerda Posts: 3 Recruit
    Awesome, thanks for the documentation. So it's possible to control the gripper using a Raspberry Pi?
    Do you mind me asking what you're using to control the gripper? Are you using a BeagleBone or Raspberry Pi?
  • matthewd92matthewd92 Founding Pro, Tactile Sensor Beta Testers Posts: 1,131 Handy
    Currently we don't control the gripper off robot. 
  • MsysumMsysum Posts: 1 Recruit
    It is very possible to use arduino to write to modbus using a rs485 shield. I have use modbus on arduino to talk to variable frequency drives in the past. I have done it with a raspberry pi also.  I would lean towards the teensy 3.1. Faster more memory and smaller than arduino uno. There are libraries for modbus rtu. I have not tried it on a robotiq gripper but looking at the documentation should be pretty easy. 
  • matthewd92matthewd92 Founding Pro, Tactile Sensor Beta Testers Posts: 1,131 Handy
    I worked on a nodejs library yesterday that would work on a RPi or BBB, it's a work in progress but I can activate, reset, fully open and fully close the gripper using the exposed methods. There's a gripper.js file in the repo as well that's an example of it working. 

    It it can be found at https://github.com/mbush92/robotiq-node
  • stevenholwerdastevenholwerda Posts: 3 Recruit
    Thanks for that information Msysum and for the code, Matthew. It seems like it will be possible for me to controller the gripper using an Arduino.
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