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The Matlab Toolbox for the Intelitek Scorbot (MTIS)

An open-source solution for robust integration of the SCORBOT-ER 4u in MATLAB development environments

Intelitek’s SCORBOT line of robots has dominated the educational scene for the past two decades. These versatile articulated robot manipulators for education include the intuitive SCORBASE programming environment. The ability to enable control in any programming language provides advantages, especially in post-secondary settings.

Visit the developers page to learn about and download the MTIS Toolbox!

To that end, Professors Joel Esposito, Carl Wick and Ken Knowles at the United States Naval Academy Systems Engineering Department’s RaVision Group recently developed the MATLAB Toolbox for the Intelitek SCORBOT (MTIS). This open-source toolbox enables user to control the SCORBOT directly using MATLAB®, a high-level language and interactive environment for numerical computation, visualization, and programming used by millions of engineers in both industry and education.

A new study presents in-depth research and findings of the development and usage of the MTIS. The article describes the development process and the toolbox’s features, detailing how the toolbox was beta tested in an introductory robotics class and tested for capability with various projects.

The research included three benchmark tests to compare the old SCORBOT serial interface with new USB interface:

    • Encoder readings: the mean time was observed to measure the joint angles across 1000 trials.
    • Movement time: the mean time was recorded to execute 10cm vertical motion with a desired movement time of 1 second, averaged across 60 moves.
    • Sequences of motions: 100 random motion commands were sent to the SCORBOT and the number of missed commands were recorded (note: unlike with the older RS232 interface, there we no missed motions with the ER 4U).

Below: 3 projects highlighted in the study: Towers of Hanoi Puzzle, Defusing and IED, and Cup Crushing.

MATLAB SCORBOT projects

At the end of a semester-long class, students were asked to rate ease of use and stability of the toolbox. For ease of use, the majority rated “easy” on a scale of “very easy,” “easy,” “moderate,” and “hard.” For stability, the majority responded that the SCORBOT was “rock solid” or “stable after bug fixes.”

Excellent projects have been completed using the MTIS, like the example below:


See more projects completed with the MTIS on YouTube!

Ultimately, it was confirmed that the Intelitek SCORBOT-ER 4U could be successfully incorporated into the environment of the MATLAB toolbox. The toolbox can handle the low-level interfacing, allowing instructors with little expertise to integrate the SCORBOT-ER 4u into robust lab exercises. Being open-source, this capability is available to any MATLAB-licensed facility. This opens a whole new door to opportunities for post-secondary students interested in science and engineering, with market leading, widely available development environment like MATLAB.

Have an example of a MATLAB integrated SCORBOT project? Let us know – we’d love to show it off!

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