Fischertechnik, Scratch and Motor Control through the GPIO.

Fischertechnik robot arm connected to two L298 driver boards and controlled through Scratch.

Fischertechnik robot arm connected to two L298 driver boards and controlled through Scratch.

My greatest interest in the Raspberry Pi lies in those 26 little pins tucked down on the side of the board. They just invite things to be connected to them. Having found a pile of dusty Fischertechnik (loosely assembled in a sort-of robot arm shape) in a cupboard, I decided that something could be done with it.
The arm was so dusty it needed disassembling and washing. I left the motors and sensors out of the wash but I figured that everything else would cope. Sure enough, it looked like new again.

I found some L298 motor driver boards on Ebay and these easily connect to the Raspberry Pi GPIO connections. There are four motors in this arm:

  • Rotation of the base
  • Lifting of the “forearm”
  • Lifting the “upper arm”
  • Closing the jaws

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“The Head” in action

Here’s the Foamex version of the head posted earlier. It uses the same four servos and links to a servo buffer board. Servoblaster takes care of the timing signals and a Python program makes it look interesting.

The next stage will be to make it link with Twitter and also RSS feeds such as the BBC local weather forecast.