Machina is a .NET library for action-based real-time control of mechanical actuators.
Or in more human terms, it allows you to talk to a robot and tell it what to do.
Machina simplifies all the hassle of connecting to a mechanical controller, writing programs in platform-specific languages and managing the asynchronous communication between a machine and a connected application, by providing a human-relatable API of Actions, unified for all the different devices.
Machina was formerly known as BRobot.
Working with robots is dangerous. Robotic actuators are very powerful machines, but for the most part extremely unaware of their environment; if it collides with something, including yourself, it will not detect it and try to keep going, posing a threat to itself and the operators surrounding it. This is particularly relevant when running in 'automatic' mode, where several security measures are bypassed for the sake of performance.
When using robots in a real-time interactive environment, please make sure:
- You have been adequately trained to use that particular machine,
- you are in good physical and mental condition,
- you are operating the robot under the utmost security measures,
- you are following the facility's and facility staff's security protocols,
- and the robot has the appropriate guarding in place, including, but not reduced to, e-stops, physical barriers, light curtains, etc.
Machina is in a very early stage of development. You are using this software at your own risk, no warranties are provided herewith, and unexpected results/bugs may arise during its use. Always test and simulate your applications thoroughly before running them on a real device. The author/s shall not be liable for any injuries, damages or losses consequence of using this software in any way whatsoever.
Assuming your computer is connected to a real or virtual robotic arm, here is a simple .NET program that traces a vertical 50 x 50 mm square:
// Load assembly using Machina; // Instantiate a new Robot object Robot bot = new Robot(); // Do real-time streaming bot.Mode("stream"); // Connect to the controller and start running bot.Connect(); bot.Start(); // Display a message on the handheld pendant bot.Message("Hello world!"); // Move it to positive XYZ octant, face front and trace the square bot.SpeedTo(100); bot.ZoneTo(2); bot.MoveTo(300, 300, 300); bot.Rotate(0, 1, 0, -90); bot.Move(0, 0, 50); bot.Move(0, 50, 0); bot.Move(0, 0, -50); bot.Move(0, -50, 0); // ... let the robot complete these actions before shutting down // kthxbye bot.Disconnect();
Documentation and Reference
Machina is its infancy, and rapid changes are happening with every commit! Your most reliable and up-to-date source of documentation is probably the code itself, and the comments within.
To learn how to start using Machina, and examples of some of its features, please take a look at the Walkthrough page.
Documentation on Machina's API can be found on the Reference.
Machina comes with a bunch of sample projects that may help you understand its possibilities. Take a look at them, and please don't blame me if they broke during development...
Here are some videos of things you can do with Machina:
- Real-time Command-line Control
- Trajectory Replication
- Motion Mirroring
- Robot Drawing - Kids at Autodesk Day
- Robot Drawing - Real-time streaming
- Real-time Movement through Video Game Controller
- Surface Milling
- Metal Forming
There are other projects that use Machina at their core:
As of v0.2.5, Machina works for the following robotic arms in different degrees of robustness:
ABB: [========= ] (tested offline, wip online) KUKA: [== ] (untested offline, wanna try?) UR: [===== ] (pseudo-tested offline)
Other devices are currently under active development. Much of the development has focused on making the best of what Machina can do, rather than fixing what it can't yet. There are several known limitations:
- No forward/inverse kinematics solvers. This means that robotic programs coming out of Machina include no arm configurations, and it is up to the controller to decide them. It also means that for motion actions, switching from
Moveaction and vice versa requires an absolute action first, which can then be followed by any relative actions of the same kind.
- Closing Machina applications without properly disposing COM objects causes ABB controllers to silently reject variable subscriptions. Remember to always properly
Disconnect, and if failed to do so... you may have to restart the machine.
- Many, many other things that you will discover along the way ;)
Machina is an open-source project, with a lot of room for improvement and collaboration. Furthermore, its internal modular architecture is designed to allow developers to implement their own drivers and compilers in a very straightforward way. If you would like to use Machina to control some obscure Basic-based parallel robot, ping me and I will explain you how. A proper collaboration page should be up sometime soon...
Machina was created and is maintained by Jose Luis Garcia del Castillo.