Opinion Robot Arm

What to NOT do with a Sixi robot arm

The Sixi robot arm can reach 80cm (31.5in) and carry 2kg (4.4lbs). That’s a lot of power and versatility! In the wrong hands it could be trouble. Here’s a list of things that you should NEVER do with a Sixi robot arm.

Some ideas we have tested under very strict safety guidelines to show you why they’re a bad idea.

Some ideas we read about… then we folded the paper and put it in a fire.

Laser someone in half

Look, I get it, secret agents are getting all up in your base. Please! Resist the urge. Your Sixi will get PTSD. Also, the Secret Agent union is really mean.

Play the Knife Game from Aliens

It’s all good clean fun until it isn’t, and then you can count only to 512. Segue: I want to point out the Bishop pulled an Andy Dufresne – before it was cool – and saved the remaining humans from that space hell. That should go on the DO list.

…or anything else that is dangerous to meat

While we are all in favor of villainy, the human imagination is nearly limitless. Please don’t stab, slice, burn, scar, tattoo, shave, tenderize, cook, melt, or do other unpleasant things with humans, pets, or other living things. If you’re not sure what this means, draw a picture of what you want to do and show it to your parents or a lawyer. Do they approve? Cool.

Safety third

Remember: all accidents can be traced back to at least three mistakes. A little paranoia is totally acceptable here, it’s okay to let it off leash here.

If you’re still not sure if your task is safe (or how to do it safely), ask in our forums.

Robot Arm

Matthew uses Sixi to pick up a block

This will only get better with time.  I’m currently coding a way to record & play back the sixi simulation.

Oh!  If only I had a kinect bar!  I could put the point cloud into the simulation, and then the driver could see the block in the app.  I will have to settle for a raspicam and VLC on the local net.

News Robot Arm

Robot Overlord : New 3D Manipulator Controls

After nearly a week of screaming at my monitor, I finally got a new system for rotating and translating Sixi2’s hand.

The old method used…

  • mouse LMB for XY translation
  • SHIFT+mouse LMB for XY rotation
  • ALT+mouse LMB for Z translation AND Z rotation

Which (technically) worked, but was super hard to do well.

technically correct

The new system is much easier

  • Double click the robot you want to move and the translate tool will appear.
  • Hover over each handle and it will change color. Click and drag the active handle to drag the robot’s hand. If the robot cannot move the angry joint will turn white, then red.
  • Hold shift to replace the translate tool with the rotate tool. Hover over each handle (the colored rings) and they will change color. Click and drag on the handles to rotate the robot’s hand.


In the future I may even remove the need for the shift key so that everything can be done with a mouse or a touch pad or maybe even a sip+puff.

I tried several things that didn’t work out, like using OpenGL’s Select Buffer. I also notice the rotation handles don’t stay inside the grey circle when they are in the far corners of the screen and I don’t have an answer for that yet.

If you want to read the code in the open source project, start in org.marginallyclever.robotOverlord.DragBall

Also much love to https://www.scratchapixel.com/. Their 3D graphics tutorials kept coming up when I searched for things I needed in Robot Overlord. If you want to learn 3D graphics it is a clean, simple, effective resource.