InterbotiX Arm Link Software - Advanced Use with Processing 2.0



The latest version of Arm Link runs on Processing 3.0 see this guide for more information. This page is for reference only.

Go here for usage instructions for the Arm Link Software. If you're looking for info for using Processing 2.0 see here.

This article will get you started in editing and building the Arm Link Software from the source code.

The InterbotiX Arm Link software allows you to connect and control RobotGeek/InterbotiX Robotic Arms. Working with the source code will allow you to customize the Arm Link Software as well as learn more about the Arm Link Protocol.

Mac users please see the 'Note for Mac Users' here before following the rest of this guide.

Linux users please see the 'Note for Linux Users' here before following the rest of this guide.

Project Parts List:


Installing the Processing environment is very easy. From the Official Getting Started Guide...

  • On Windows, you'll have a .zip file. Double-click it, and drag the folder inside to a location on your hard disk. It could be Program Files or simply the desktop, but the important thing is for the processing folder to be pulled out of that .zip file. Then double-click processing.exe to start.
  • The Mac OS X version is also a .zip file. Double-click it and drag the Processing icon to the Applications folder. If you're using someone else's machine and can't modify the Applications folder, just drag the application to the desktop. Then double-click the Processing icon to start.
  • The Linux version is a .tar.gz file, which should be familiar to most Linux users. Download the file to your home directory, then open a terminal window, and type:
    tar xvfz processing-xxxx.tgz
    (Replace xxxx with the rest of the file's name, which is the version number.) This will create a folder named processing-2.0 or something similar. Then change to that directory:
    cd processing-xxxx
    and run it:

Once you've installed Processing, you'll need to install the G4P library. This library runs the various GUI elements in the program.

To install G4P you'll need to find the 'libraries' folder in your 'Processing' user folder. This is NOT the folder where the Processing IDE itself is located. The location of this folder will be different based on your operating system.

If you're having trouble finding your 'Processing' folder, open the Processing IDE and open the 'Preferences' panel (File->Preferences). Here you will find a file path under 'Sketchbook location:'. This is the path to your 'Processing' folder.

Windows XP

My Documents\Processing\libraries

Windows Vista/7




Where '~' represents the path to your user account.

Unzip the G4P Library and put the folder 'G4P' into the 'libraries' folder.


After you've installed the library you will need to restart the Processing IDE if it is open. Open the ArmControl.pde file in processing and press the Play/Run button to start the program.

Usage Notes

Serial Packets and Debugging

It is possible to see the data packets being sent to and received from the arm through the ArmControl panel. This is turned on my defualt - just watch the data in the console below the processing code as you send commands in the GUI.

boolean debugConsole = true;      //change to 'false' to disable debuging messages to the console, 'true' to enable 

You can turn GUI event debugging on by setting

boolean debugGuiEvent = true;     //change to 'false' to disable GUI debuging messages, 'true' to enable

Processing Version

There is a bug in processing 2.2 when exporting a windows application that uses the serial port, like Arm Control. If you wish to export an application on windows, you should try running processing 2.1. This does not effect running the application from within the processing environment in windows, only .exe export.