Learning

uFactory uArm

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Robot arm kit for hobbyists

uFactory is a new startup in Shenzhen that makes electronic gadgets, most of which are sold through Kickstarter campaigns and then get featured in uFactory’s online store. A case in point for the success of the company’s business model is the Arduino-controlled uArm, a desktop robotic arm that can be operated via Bluetooth or a Windows computer.

The arm got its start with a successful Kickstarter that earned them a quarter-million dollars. Funders paid $185 (versus a future price tag of $255) for a complete kit, available in laser-cut acrylic or wood. It comes with 1 mini and 3 standard-sized servos. You’ll also get an Arduino clone as well as a shield for controlling the arm. The kit even comes with white cotton gloves (a tradition someone totally needs to implement in the States).

The business end of the arm is a type I’ve never encountered in a robot arm — it comes with a pneumatic vacuum gripper that picks things up by placing the applicator against a hard, smooth object and then grabbing onto it with air pressure.

The uArm a great challenge kit if you’ve graduated past the blinking Christmas tree kit and want something that’s really cool.

-- John Baichtal 09/25/14