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Low-Cost Robot Arms for the Robotic Operating System (ROS) and MoveIt

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Instrumentation Division Technical Session 3

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Asad Yousuf Savannah State University


Claire Cynthia Lehman Bill's Robotic Solutions

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William Lehman is President of Bill’s Robotic Solutions which he started in July of 2013. He has had over twenty years of experience in software and hardware development. He has worked on numerous projects in digital communication systems, robotics, and aerospace applications. Mr. Lehman received his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 1979 from Catholic University of America.

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Mohamad A. Mustafa Savannah State University

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Mohamad Mustafa is a Professor of Civil Engineering Technology and the Chair of the Engineering Technology Department at Savannah State University (SSU). He has six years of industrial experience prior to teaching at SSU.
He received his BS, MS, and PhD in Civil Engineering from Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan.

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Mir M. Hayder Savannah State University

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Dr. Hayder is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Technology at Savannah State University, GA. He received PhD in Mechanical Engineering from McGill University, Canada. His research interest lies in the areas of engineering education studies, robotics, fluid-structure interaction, flow-induced vibrations, syngas and blended fuel combustion, nanofluids, concentrating solar power technologies, and flow and structural simulations.

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It is not uncommon for students in high school and college to design and build low cost robot arms. This paper summarize the results of a undergraduate assignment to design and build a low cost robot arm, as well as a robot arm controller. The robot arm controller uses accelerometers to control the motion of the robot arm. The robot arm controller can also be used to record and playback a sequence of motions for the arm. The robot arm controller is Arduino Uno Micro-controller based to keep costs down. A serial interface is also implemented for the arm controller so the arm can be controlled from a PC. Mentor from industry guide the students in the design of their robot arm and controller. The mentor is also involved in evaluating the robot arm and similar designs for use with the Robotic Operating System (ROS) and Moveit software, for possible use of Moveit on future student projects. ROS and Moveit brings interesting functions for control of robot arms. The Open Motion Planning Library (OMPL) is used by the Moveit, providing a variety of motion planning algorithms to control the students arm. A 3D Camera can be directly used by Moveit to provide obstacle avoidance functions to the robot arm. The results of the evaluation of Moveit is shown to the students in a video as well as the other results of the evaluation giving them insight to how an embedded sub-system they developed can interact as part of a complex system.

Yousuf, A., & Lehman, C. C., & Mustafa, M. A., & Hayder, M. M. (2016, June), Low-Cost Robot Arms for the Robotic Operating System (ROS) and MoveIt Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25584

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