Controlling Hexy from VS2013 in C# on Win8.1


Hi all,

I am new to the hexy world, but hexy is actually my second arduino based robot. My first one is a two wheel driven turtle type robot based on the DFRobot platform. My ultimate goal is to let the two “play” together, but I am not that far yet.

My favorite programming language (for work and play) is C# and although I started the Hexy project on my MacBook pro using PoMoCo (in its python world) I then quickly moved to my favorite environment (on the same MacBook Pro, Apple builds great hardware). Creating an object oriented model for Hexy sounded just the right approach to me, and after the wild moves of the PoMoCo Dances killed the gears of two of my servos I definitely decided that Hexy deserves a more sophisticated control mechanism :wink:

Pairing the bluetooth module of Hexy with Win8 is easy. Just “add a device”, type in the default pairing code “0000” and there you go. Windows reports that the device is “not connected”, but that does not seem to matter. In the control panel you can figure out what the assigned com port is (in my case is turned out to be COM5).
The .NET runtime has a built in SerialPort object (In the System.IO.Ports namespace) that allows you to send data to any COM port. Pretty straighforward…
So using the same serial commands that PoMoCo uses it is easy to control Hexy from C#.
Once I am a bit further with the object model I might publish the C# source code (if anybody is interested :wink:)

I think I will use this approach for a while until I am happy with the moves of Hexy and then port the code to C++, so that it can natively run in Hexy’s own Servotor “brains” and then let it loose in the real world. I did that with my turtle too and the amazing thing is that once you give an inanimate robot with sensors some rules and let it interact with the real world “strange” things happens. The machine will show behavior that you did not foresee and might even invoke emotions (my turtle made me laugh on quite a few occasions). Also the interaction with pets can be quite funny.

Am I happy with Hexy ? Yes I am :wink: So far only one disappointment, but many people seemed to have written about this: the quality of the gears in the servos. I ordered two replacement servos with metal gears from a local supplier to replace the plastic ones, but to replace all of them seems to be a bit too expensive… Hexy is great to learn hexapod movements but the standard moves in PoMoCo seem a bit crude to me, particularly since they are servo killers.

My fun dream: build a huge version of Hexy that you can ride on, just image the looks in the streets :wink:
(if anyone at all would know where to source the servos from they would be too expensive anyway …)

For all of you out there… Happy 2014 for you and your robots (and other family members)