Soap Bubble Bot

During my studies at the HFU, I have to participate in at least two semester projects. This time we built a new USB interface for some pretty old hardware. That old hardware is a robot arm built in 80′s (there is “Made in West Germany” written on it). I’ve blogged about it before.
Today we got to present our work. But how do you show something as abstract as interface hardware/software? So we came up with that demo which we consider pretty neat: we taught the robot arm to make soap bubbles. Well, we used a bunch of ruby scripts to grad the events generated by a gamepad (HID device) and interpreted them, so that one can control the arm. We also taped something (I’d call a soap bubble device) at the front of robot. Add some of the soap fluid and we could’ve made soap bubbles manually. But that’s too easy. So we added a sequence of positions (one of the firmware’s features) and used that to do the work. Video’s after the break.

Readonly hardware IRC client

Right after we got the network running on my board (see my previous post) I got the board of the talented hacker mentioned before and started to hack a small read-only IRC client for it (after having a look at RFC1459 and RFC2812. About an hour later I was able to connect to a server, join a channel and listen for messages which are displayed on the OLED display. Unfortunately the display is broken on that particular board. But none the less, there is a lot of cool stuff ahead.
Again we have some screenshots:

Getting the network of my LM3S6965 board to work

I’ve had this board for about a 1.5 years. All that time I was disliked the fact that the ethernet was not working. No matter what I tried, what example I flashed nothing helped. Today I learned why: the hardware’s simply broken.
That’s no guess too far away, but being a software guy that’s just an unreachable world to me.
Thankfully that’s not the case for a friend of mine. He’s a talented hacker (from today on I know how talented :P) and he got this fixed. All the time I was like: “hey, if that’s so easy someone else would have done it already instead of buying that super-expensive Pulse Jack Ethernet Transformer hardware”. None the less he pushed forward and got it to work. As usually pictures say more than a thousand words, so here we go:
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