What is mimic (for makers)?
What is mimic?
Mimic is a collection of robots, sensors, and programming tools that are simple enough for kids but powerful enough for experts. Our mimicArm is a desktop sized robot arm that can be controlled manually with our revolutionary Posi-Feel force feedback controller (pat. pend.) or automatically with an Arduino or mimicDuino. Posi-feel control gives the user enough finesse to handle the most delicate items.
The open source mimicArm library (available here) allows your Arduino or mimicDuino to interface with mimicArm’s included electronics using simple commands (listed here). Less experienced programmers may prefer our graphical programming environment mimicBlock. An add-on to Arduino, mimicBlock allows the programmer to drag and drop commands to create great programs. To get you started we have a great library of examples here.
Using mimicArm with the Posi-Feel force feedback controller (pat. pend.) is the simplest way to use mimicArm. Simply move the controller as you would your own arm and mimicArm will “mimic” your movements. Use the scissor grip to control mimicArm’s gripper, and the harder you grip the harder mimic will grip. Because mimicArm’s gripper position is fed back to the controller you will get a sensation of touch through the controller. Because of these features you can explore the different feel of soft and hard, heavy and light things. You can control mimicArm’s grip to lift and move delicate objects without damaging them or grab hard enough to lift heavy objects. Everything is intuitive enough for even the youngest users.
When paired with an Arduino or mimicDuino and our open source library or mimicBlock software you can easily determine the robots position or grip strength using simple commands. These values can be used to set positions for programs, record motions to an SD card, set maximum grip strength, or determine if the robot is holding something all with a few simple lines of code.
Our mimicArm really shines in automatic mode. The electronics the come with mimicArm are designed to plug directly into an Arduino or mimicDuino. Our open source library or mimicBlock software you can easily determine the robots position or grip strength using simple commands. Controlling grip strength is a true innovation that significant improvement in capability. Using simple commands the user can grip delicate objects lightly without knowing how large they are ahead of time, the gripper will simple close with the commanded force and maintain that force on any objects in it’s path.
Sensors and Inputs
Our mimic robots are designed to be capable enough for our most experienced users. Once you’ve mastered moving and grabbing in manual and automatic mode our Inputs package teaches you about external inputs in simple ways that allow less experienced users to comfortably transition to more complex programming. Examples allow you to move the arm using buttons and knobs, while more complex examples let you react to temperature, light, sound, and other inputs. Most exciting, you can record your motions on an SD card and use the recorded motions in your programs by simply reading the files.
When you combine mimicArm with our Sensors package or similar sensors from other vendors a whole new world of possibility opens up. Removing mimicArms eyes opens up a sensor platform just behind the gripper. This allows the mounting of distance sensors, color sensors, cameras, and anything else you can imaging. Our pre-written examples include a beam-break block detector, a distance sensor grabber, dance to music, record and playback, as well as options to react to light, noise, and temperature. Combine these to create all sorts of autonomous actions.