This article is from the Robotics FAQ, by Kevin Dowling firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
This section describes both industrial robot controllers and small
inexpensive single board controllers. A few companies are now
specializing in robot controllers. They can be used to upgrade
controllers for older robots or provide greater flexibility or better
fit with existing computing environments.
2222 South 950 East
Provo, UT 84606
Cemetrix is a manufacturer of PC-based real-time open-architecture
robot controllers. Their software architecture allows a user to select
kinematics for virtually every commercial robot ever manufactured, as
well as write your own kinematic solution.
Application programming is done in C or with a "non-programmers
language" automated programming environment called CIMBuilder. They
are on the verge of releasing a WindowsNT product that will allow
programming in Visual C++ too. Their client/server architecture allows
the application program to be run on either a control server or
simulation server. So you can develop your code offline with a
graphical simulation concurrent to your workcell hardware development.
This can save weeks in project timelines.
They currently have a turn-key hardware solution for many commercial
robots including the PUMA 762.
A variety of small and inexpensive controller boards for robotics have
developed by a number of groups. These boards are becoming widely used
and a number of discussions on the robotics bboards center around the
design, use and programming of these controllers.
Several including the Miniboard, F1 board and Bot board are listed
here. Many small micro-controller boards are available from different
companies. A small micro-processor, some memory and I/O can all be had
for $40-$100 dollars (US).
Robotic Systems plans to offer other parts and kits including the
Miniboard, 6.270 board, Handyboard, Rug Warrior board, and a wide
selection of motors, batteries, sensors and software for building
Robotic Systems, Inc
1102 West Glen River Road
Glendale, Wisconsin 53217
Clint Laskowski, President