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MobiLimb makers from the universities in France have created an original accessory for smartphones. The Research project of MobiLimb was made by Marc Teyssier, Gilles Bailly, Catherine Pelachaud and Eric Lecolinet. It will be presented at UIST 2018, 31st ACM User Interface Software and Technology Symposium.
A new shape-changing component is attached to device which is a small 5 DoF serial robotic manipulator that can be easily added to or removed from.
“The device uses an Arduino to interface with the phone or other smart device via its micro USB port, and powers a servo-actuated robotic manipulator with five degrees of freedom. The servos give the artificial finger enough power to pull the phone itself across the ground, and for other interactions like acting as a physical avatar, propping the phone up as a stand, or even taking input as a joystick apparatus”, indicates www.marcteyssier.com.
[Actuators: We used five PZ-15320 servo motors, which provide a torque sufficient to support the weight of a smartphone (130g) and can apply a contact force of about 0.8N. Two motors, mounted on two orthogonal axes on the base, carry the first link. Every other link has its own revolute joint parallel to each other. A 3D printed plastic structure was designed to hold together the servo motors without constraining motion at the different joints], it is mentioned on the website.
What about Sensors?
Servo motors provide their own angular position as feedback. This permits calculating the shape of the device. A flexible potentiometer discovers when and where the user is touching MobiLimb.
Microcontroller and smartphone integration
The motors and an Arduino Leonardo Pro Micro microcontroller are packed within a thin 3D-printed base attached at the bottom and on the back of the phone.
API and applications
The team developed an Android/Unity API to drive MobiLimb. The Unity application makes it possible to create, record and play animations easily.
To imagine what it is about, let’s watch the video below!
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