Mar 15, 2009

NXT Switchboard: another remote control for the NXT

These days, I pondered about a way to test new robots already during development phase to figure out reasonable and working usage of the NXT motors, without the need to write (and frequently adapt) a separate program each time.
It occurred to me that (apart from approaches that use PC remote control) it might be a good strategy to create a NXT-based Bluetooth remote control that allows for separate control of each motor independently.
And here it is: the NXT Switchboard.

The program that actually runs on the robot in development (presently implemented in leJOS NXJ, the Java platform for the NXT) is a general-purpose one (it simply receives and handles the control signals sent by the remote control) and can be re-used for each robot.

Of course, one can use the NXT Switchboard also to remotely control finished robots (if required).

Addendum: in the video, the hand wheels are operated by my invisible Chesire Cat ;).


BlueToothKiwi said...

Great post and a fantastic design - but I think the cat is even cleverer.

I think this sort of remote is ideal for static machines. It is also useful for vehicles that use Rack and Pinion type steering - where you can use one of the motor to maintain the course at a certain direction.

Matthias Paul Scholz said...


I tend to agree with you, as I tried it out while prototyping a mobile robot yesterday - one would be surprised how difficult it is to steer a wheeled vehicle when you have to control each wheel independently.

Still, it's very useful for the development phase.

Once a robot is finished, you usually will create a program special for it, I suposse.

Dave Parker said...

Nice! And fills a good need. I think everyone wishes something like this was included in the NXT box.

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