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BETA - Release of the Open Bionics Brunel robotic hand control firmware for the Chestnut board
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Open Bionics - Beetroot

Included in this repository;

  • Beetroot V1.0 - The firmware release for Open Bionics Brunel hand & Chestnut PCB

Quick Start

1. Install Arduino

  • Navigate to the downloads page at
  • Download the latest version of the IDE (1.8.1 at time of writing)
  • Install Arduino

2. Download Beetroot

  • Navigate to the Beetroot repository
  • Download and extract the zip folder (Clone or download -> Download Zip)
  • Open the arduino file at Beetroot\OpenBionics_Beetroot\OpenBionics_Beetroot\OpenBionics_Beetroot.ino

3. Install FingerLib.h

  • Within Arduino, go to Sketch -> Include Library -> Manage Libraries...
  • Search for FingerLib
  • Install FingerLib

4. Install Chesnut board

  • Within Arduino, go to File -> Preferences
  • Copy the following URL
  • Paste URL in Additional Boards Manager URLs box
  • Open Tools -> Board -> Boards Manager..
  • Search for Open Bionics
  • Install the latest verison of the Open Bionics Boards
  • Search for Arduino SAMD
  • Install the latest version
  • Select Tools -> Board -> Chestnut to select the Chestnut PCB

5. Upload to the Brunel hand

  • Plug the hand into the supplied 12V DC jack
  • Plug the USB micro into the hand and the computer
  • Within Arduino, select Tools -> Port -> COM## (Chestnut) (see here for more details)
  • Select Sketch -> Upload

6. Use Beetroot

  • After a successful upload, the hand will be flashing Orange (near the USB port)
  • Within Arduino, select Tools -> Serial Monitor (the hand should now be flashing Green)
  • On the bottom right hand corner of the Serial Monitor window, make sure the dropdown box for the baud rate is set to 115200 baud and set the other dropdown box to Carriage Return
  • Enter ? over the serial monitor to view the list of serial instructions

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit

7. Extra

  • Drivers - you may need to download the SAMD21 boards from Arduino using the Arduino Boards Manager, as this allows the drivers for the SAMD21G18 to be installed
  • Brunel Version - this software is configured to run on Brunel V2, however by changing BRUNEL_VER in Globals.h to 1, the software will be reconfigured for the original Brunel (the only difference is the finger/pin mapping)

Beetroot Release Notes

Version	|	Date		|	Notes
V1.1.0	|	11/07/18	|	Updated for the Brunel V2 (motor stall detection, WDT
V1.0.4	|	24/10/17	|	Added SerialPins & SerialJack. Updated LED.h 
V1.0.3	|	10/08/17	|	Added HANDle (Nunchuck) control.
V1.0.2	|	05/06/17	|	Updated grip positions. Changed 'commSwitchPin' to correct pin.
V1.0.1	|	10/04/17	|	Removed useless grips. Added EEPROM 'first run' detection. Fixed LEFT hand finger inversion
V1.0.0	|	22/03/17	|	Initial release for Brunel hand and Chestnut board using SAMD21G18A

Beetroot Description

  • Simple hand control software designed to run on the Open Bionics Chestnut hand controller
  • Uses FingerLib.h for level finger control, which allows fingers to be used as servos
  • Can be controlled via the following methods:
    • Serial control (baud 115200)
    • Muscle control (Analogue EMG, I2C EMG)
    • HANDle control (Wii Nunchuck)
  • Enter '?' to view available serial commands
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