Let's Make Robots!

Hooking up a computer to a servo?

So I've seen some people using a laptop as the brains for their bot as opposed to a microprocessor... but here's my question... how the hell do you hook up a servo to a laptop? What do i need??

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The $27 USD Pololu Serial Servo Controller can control 8 servos, or the $40 Lynxmotion SSC-32 can control 32. They both connect via a serial port.


These are all splendid, I'll probably go witht he Pololu, its C++ opperable yes?

 I was thinking of integrating something with Augmented reality and a webcam. Thought it'd be fun if the price was right, so far so good! 



uhm that sounds interesting :P

what are you planning to do precisely ? I used a little artoolkit some time ago and it was great :)

yeah, i was going to use arttoolkit as well.

 Thought it would be fun. I'm trying to brainstorm something that it may be able to mimick motion. not super positive yet. Maybe a head that follows a visual image. =) We'll see how much fun I can get outta it.

Here is the PhidgetServo 1-motor to control one servo on a USB line for $32 CAD. It appears to use a Cypress microcontroller and there seems to be some software to load on a Windows PC, or a Mac, or Linux PC for running it.

There also appears to be an 8 servo model  for $90 CAD.

Or there's any number of micros that can be hooked up through either a RS-232 serial port or a USB port that act as a serial go between from the PC commanding them.I think some motherboards have I2C that might be usable. 

I think there was someone that tried to connect servos to the parallel port, but the timing issues made driving servos somewhat unreliable. GPIB is also a method of interface, think used by Labview.

Look at a robot using a laptop, and you'll probably find a micro somewhere doing the low level driving and sensing chores.