Burning Silicon

Rise of the Cyborg!

Hello World!

This week I finally got my MyoBand to interface with the robotic arm using a Raspbery Pi! While am not a full-fledged cyborg quite yet, this is probably the closest interfacing I've done with a robotic arm so far. Here's a video of me controlling it (unfortunately you can't really see the band since it's near my elbow)

So that was really fun! The way I finally got it to work is by using the dzhu code MyoBand code, but replacing the myo-raw.py script with the one from PyoConnect. Once again, thank you to dzhu and Fernando Constantino for writing these scripts!

On the whole this was an interesting project because the final version of what I did was not complex, and took only a few hours to program — it's just that in order to get to it I had to try countless methods that did not work. My favorite rabbit hole of failure was trying to get the official MyoBand script to run on the Raspberry Pi. Unfortunately it only works on MacOS or Windows so I had to get Windows up and running on my Pi! There is a Windows for Raspberry Pi, but only for versions 2 and 3. So I spent a few hours getting this special community-developed Windows for Raspberry Pi 4 from a weird Discord server, and then uploading it onto the Pi, only to realize that it didn't support electronics controlled by the Pi! Oh well.

As you can see from the videos, there are quite a few issues with the hand at the moment. The primary one is that I was unable to train it - so I have to wave inward to give it a tripod grip rather than using a tripod grip to give it a tripod grip. The other issue is that to be honest, the gesture detection even for the pre-programmed hand positions wasn't that great. It's good on MacOS, and I'm assuming on Windows as well since it can use the MyoConnect software, but there is no good linux port. Research has certainly been done in the field, but it's been done by a team of three PhDs over a (presumably) lengthy period of time, while I am still an undergrad working on my own during the summer so it's unlikely that I could produce similar breakthroughs.

brave browser

One thing I discovered about myself however: I am, unfortunately, a browser hipster. You see, I used to use Brave Browser. Brave was supposedly secure, and blocked all adds which was nice. However there are issues with it. Granted, there are WAY more sources saying it's legit, but to be honest I didn't switch because of security reasons. I switched because I'm a browser hipster and I want a weird obscure browser and brave is becoming far too mainstream 😎.

brave browser

I considered using ungoogled chromium because technically that is probably the best browser in terms of safety and security. But it looks exactly like Chrome! And Chrome is for losers! So I decided to use Pale Moon. Pale Moon is INCREDIBLY secure, and has some really awesome configuration options for it's start tab which are acutely quite useful despite seeming gimmicky. And best of all, I get to tell people that I am using a fork of Firefox 38 ESR, but not actually because that fork only works on Windows and Linux so I'm using a fork of that called New Moon, and the UI looks like it was designed by a toddler. There are for sure some issues with it but the geek cred is too good to pass up.

Also some good news: using MailChimp, people can now subscribe to the site! This means that you can volunteer to be spammed every Sunday with an email linking you to the latest blog post. Why do people do this? I don't know! But quite a few did on my last site! Also I used Hyvor to allow people to like and comment. On top of that, I did some messing around with the Pi to make it a bit harder for the site to get slow when a bunch of people are visiting it! So anyways, now there are only two downsides to switching from wordpress: SEO ranking is slightly less good (but getting up there for sure!) and when my personal WiFi goes down, the site does as well. The first one I'm working on, and its slowly improving. The second one is not going away any time soon, but hopefully I'll keep my WiFi up!

May you be ever victorious in your endeavors.
M.E.W