There's a depressingly low amount of advice online on how to communicate with your iRobot Create robot on Mac OSX, so here's my tech tip of the day.

First there's connecting to your Create over bluetooth. This isn't too hard, simply open the Bluetooth Explorer, find the Create (it'll have a name like ElementSerial), pair and then connect. Easy. Of course, don't forget to plug the BAM bluetooth adapter into your Create and turn it on before.

Next there's the issue of sending commands. iRobot recommends that you use RealTerm, but unfortunately that's not an option for us Mac users. So I went through a series of free options. The one that I wanted to like the most was using the screen command in the terminal. Unfortunately, I could connect but I couldn't type and send commands once I was connected. This happened when I tried some other free programs too (including the every popular ZTerm), so that was a bust.

The key was trying Serial Bridge. Now this isn't a free program, and I really wanted a free program, but it had a 30 day trial, so I figured I'd try it out. It's actually a combination of Serial Bridge + Apple's Apple Script. This, after some configuration, worked out perfectly! As an added bonus, Apple Script is super easy.

  1. Download SerialBridge, fill out the form to get the code for a free trial, and Install. This is a dmg so it's pretty straightforward.
  2. Open SerialBridge and go to File to create a new connection. I just called mine New Connection.
  3. Make sure the settings are 57600 baud, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit, 0 flow. Save and you're now connected!
  4. Next I worked off one of the example files that came in SerialBridge. Just edit the byte list to one of the examples that come with your Create. For example, byte list = {128, 132, 139, 2, 0, 0} turns on the Play LED on the Create and turns off all the other LEDs. You can delete or comment out the rest of the file, comments are pairs of (* and *).
  5. Now, press the run button in the Apple Script editor. Success!
Once I got this working, this got me thinking that there must be a free way to send Apple Script files over a serial port connection. Do you know of any? I've fiddled around with a couple of stuff but nothing's worked so far.
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2 Responses
  1. RichardV Says:

    Do you have a link to serial bridge?

  2. It's been a couple of years, but I think it was http://www.hhdsoftware.com/doc/usb-serial-network/device-types-serial-bridge.html

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