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Controlling an Arduino with Cocoa (Mac OS X) or C# (Windows)


by computergeek on October 12, 2009

Table of Contents

License: Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike (by-nc-sa) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Intro: Controlling an Arduino with Cocoa (Mac OS X) or C# (Windows) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

File Downloads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

step 1: Stuff you need: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

step 2: Coding the app . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

step 3: Designing the GUI (Graphic User Interface) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

step 4: Programming the Arduino . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

step 5: Using, Notes, & More Ideas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

step 6: How this works . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

step 7: Coding in C# (Windows) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Advertisements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Comments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

http://www.instructables.com/id/Controlling-an-Arduino-with-Cocoa/
License: Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike (by-nc-sa)

Intro: Controlling an Arduino with Cocoa (Mac OS X) or C# (Windows)


No I'm not talking about controlling an Arduino with a chocolate bar or cocoa powder. I'm talking about the programming language, Objective-C. So what is cocoa?
Cocoa is a set of frameworks written in the programming language of Objective-C for Mac OS X. No there isn't a test at the steps so you don't have to worry about
remembering all of this. Just know that when I talk about cocoa I'm not trying to make you hungry.

Now I understand some people are probably wondering why you would want to use Cocoa instead of Processing, the reason I have is: if you use Cocoa over Processing
you can have a full Computer Application(e.g. Safari, Mail, iCal) that can have a physical output. (e.g. Lights, motors, servos)

So Have Fun, Work hard, & Play nice! Please ask any questions you have!

Notes:
- This will only work for Mac OS X & Windows
- The source code is attached below.
- If you don't want to code the app, or you don't have xcode, you can find the app for OS X in the source below under: 'Build -> Debug'
- The instructions for Windows are in step 7

File Downloads

Arduino Controller.zip (2 MB)


[NOTE: When saving, if you see .tmp as the file ext, rename it to 'Arduino Controller.zip']

step 1: Stuff you need:


Hardware:
- Arduino
- A-B USB Cable
- Computer with Mac OS X

Software:
- Xcode
- Arduino IDE

http://www.instructables.com/id/Controlling-an-Arduino-with-Cocoa/
step 2: Coding the app
Hopefully this makes sense. If you need help please ask any questions you have.
Note: If you don't want to code the app, or you don't have xcode, you can find the app in the source code download under: 'Build -> Debug'

Create the project:


1) Open Xcode
2) Press 'Command + shift + n' This will open the new project dialog
3) Select 'Cocoa Application' under "Mac OS X -> Applications" Press Next
4) Call the app what you want. I'm calling mine "Arduino Controller"

Add your class:


5) Once the project is created, Press 'Command + n'
6) Select the Objective-C Class option from the Classes option under the Mac OS X section
7) Call it MainController. Then press finish

Add the code:


8) Open MainController.h
9) After the '}' & before the '@end' add the code:

-(IBAction)ledOn:(id)sender;

-(IBAction)ledOff:(id)sender;

10) Open MainController.m


11) After the code ''@implementation MainController" & before the '@end' add the code:

-(IBAction)ledOn:(id)sender{

popen("echo i > /dev/tty.usbserial-A6006hmi", "r");

-(IBAction)ledOff:(id)sender{

popen("echo o > /dev/tty.usbserial-A6006hmi", "r");

Finishing The Coding:

12) Press 'Command + b' & press save all


13) Double click on MainWindow.xib. It is located under Resources

14) Interface Builder will open

http://www.instructables.com/id/Controlling-an-Arduino-with-Cocoa/
Image Notes Image Notes
1. Open Xcode 1. New Project Window
2. Select "Cocoa Application"

Image Notes Image Notes


1. You should see something like this 1. Press Command+n to get the new file dialog
2. Select Objective-C Class
3. Under Cocoa

Image Notes Image Notes


1. Call it MainController.m 1. Files added. Don't worry if it's not in the classes folder
2. In the file MainController.h add the code listed above after the '}' & before the
line '@end'

http://www.instructables.com/id/Controlling-an-Arduino-with-Cocoa/
Image Notes Image Notes
1. Copy the code above to the section between '@implementation 1. Add the code above between the brackets for both methods.
MainController' & '@end'

Image Notes Image Notes


1. Press 'Command+b' to get something like this 1. Interface Builder (IB)

Image Notes Image Notes


1. Drag 2 buttons from the library pane to the window 1. Double click on the buttons to rename them.
2. Library Pane

http://www.instructables.com/id/Controlling-an-Arduino-with-Cocoa/
Image Notes Image Notes
1. Resize the window 1. Drag to here
2. Find the thing that looks like this. (NSObject)

Image Notes Image Notes


1. Go to the Identity inspector for the object you just created. (Command+6) 1. Change this to MainController

Image Notes Image Notes


1. Go to the Connections inspector for the object you just created. 1. Click on the little round circle and drag to the correct button.
(Command+5)

http://www.instructables.com/id/Controlling-an-Arduino-with-Cocoa/
Image Notes
1. Press build and go

step 3: Designing the GUI (Graphic User Interface)


If you have questions please ask them!

Creating the interface:


1) With interface builder open, find the buttons. Pick a style you like & drag 2 of them over to the window
2) Double click on them to rename one "On" & the other "Off"
3) Resize the window if you want
4) In the library find the thing that looks like a blue cube (NSObject) & drag it to the window with the list of files
5) Click on the object you just added to the window
6) Press 'Command + 6' to open the Identity Inspector
7) Under the section 'Class' type MainController
8) Press 'Command + 5' to open the Connections Inspector
9) Click & drag the little circle to each of the respective buttons. (e.g. ledOn to the On button)
10) Save & close Interface builder
11) Press "Build & Go" In Xcode to run the cocoa app

Image Notes Image Notes


1. Interface Builder (IB) 1. Drag 2 buttons from the library pane to the window
2. Library Pane

http://www.instructables.com/id/Controlling-an-Arduino-with-Cocoa/
Image Notes Image Notes
1. Double click on the buttons to rename them. 1. Go to the Connections inspector for the object you just created. (Command+5)

Image Notes Image Notes


1. Resize the window 1. Drag to here
2. Find the thing that looks like this. (NSObject)

Image Notes Image Notes


1. Go to the Identity inspector for the object you just created. (Command+6) 1. Change this to MainController

http://www.instructables.com/id/Controlling-an-Arduino-with-Cocoa/
Image Notes
1. Click on the little round circle and drag to the correct button.

Image Notes
1. Press build and go

step 4: Programming the Arduino


Uploading the sketch to your arduino:
1) Open the .pde file, in the source download, in the Arduino IDE
2) Connect your arduino & press Upload to I/O Board
3) Once the file is uploaded open the serial monitor
4) Go to the Arduino Controller program. If it's not running open it.
5) You can now use the On & Off buttons to control the led built in on pin 13 the arduino

Image Notes Image Notes


1. Upload to I/O Board button 1. Serial Monitor

http://www.instructables.com/id/Controlling-an-Arduino-with-Cocoa/
step 5: Using, Notes, & More Ideas
To use the controller, make sure the serial monitor in the Arduino IDE is running. This is important!
To use the app you can either press build & go in xcode or find the app in the xcode project under:
'Build -> Debug'

Notes:
- This will only work on Mac OS X
- The Source code is attached on the first step.
- If you don't want to code the app, or you don't have xcode, you can find the app in the source code under: 'Build -> Debug'

Ideas:
- Make it so there are two buttons that control a servo's rotation
- Make a small piano
- Make a physical output for your mac
- Make a pan & tilt webcam

step 6: How this works


In the cocoa application there are 2 methods, ledOn & ledOff, that are activated by the pushing of the buttons. Within each of those methods there is a line of code that
looks like this:
popen("echo i > /dev/tty.usbserial-A6006hmi", "r");
This code sends the letter i to the Serial port: /dev/tty.usbserial-A6006hmi which is received by the arduino

With in the arduino program there is the code:


if (Serial.available() > 0) {
// read the incoming byte:
incomingByte = Serial.read();
if(incomingByte == 105){
digitalWrite(ledPin, HIGH);
}
else if(incomingByte == 111){
digitalWrite(ledPin, LOW);
}
This takes the decimal value from the sent character on the serial port connection. If it is a i then it turns the led on if it is a o it turns it off.

For the Arduino to receive the signal from the cocoa app the serial monitor in the Arduino IDE needs to be open.

If this doesn't make sense it's fine. This is kind of a reference if you want to expand the functionality of the program.

step 7: Coding in C# (Windows)


Well I finally got the windows part done!! It turns out you don't have to leave the Adruino IDE open when you use C# for programming. You need either Visual Studio or
Visual C# express (Free) . If you don't want to write the app the setup is included in the source code file at the intro. I would NOT recommend trying to write this program
if you don't have experience writing code in C#.

Here are the steps:

Picture 1) Create a new project


Picture 2) Choose "Windows Form Application" & Name it what you want
Picture 3) This is what you should have
Picture 4) Find the button in the Toolbox
Picture 5) Get 2 buttons & drag them to the window
Picture 6) Left click on the first one. Under properties, go to title & rename it "On"
Picture 7) Rename the second button & resize the window
Picture 8) Select both of the buttons & double click them to create methods for them
Picture 9) Paste in the code attached below

http://www.instructables.com/id/Controlling-an-Arduino-with-Cocoa/
http://www.instructables.com/id/Controlling-an-Arduino-with-Cocoa/
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Comments
14 comments Add Comment

adamohern says: Feb 8, 2010. 11:11 AM REPLY


Thanks for the great info! Is it just as easy to get info back from the Arduino to display on the screen? I want to make a bicycle computer that displays all of
its info in Mac OS X... does that seem like something that would be relatively easy using this method?

beak90 says: Nov 9, 2009. 4:22 PM REPLY


I wrote up a wiki page about how to do this a while ago located here: http://www.arduino.cc/playground/Interfacing/Cocoa
It looks like its been changed a little since I wrote it, but I wrote up the part on using Popen().

Also, you have to change the part in the code after the tty.usbserial to whatever port your Arduino is on. So you have to look in the Arduino program under
Tools/Serial Port then replace the "/dev/tty.usbserial-A6006hmi" thats in this code to the selected serial port in the Arduino program. Read my post for more
info about this.

andrew101 says: Nov 5, 2009. 6:44 PM REPLY


cool code, only thing is, when i use the serial monitor to send an i or o to the arduino it works, but the program wont...

i needed to change the com port to com4 because thats what my arduino uses, and when i press on or off the RX light goes on for a short time but it doesnt
trigger...

any ideas?

andrew101 says: Nov 5, 2009. 6:46 PM REPLY


oh, nevermind, after a quick arduino reset it recognizes it. nice :)

Radiosity says: Oct 19, 2009. 6:42 PM REPLY


Very nice! I'm going to try this next chance I get. Thanks!

http://www.instructables.com/id/Controlling-an-Arduino-with-Cocoa/
computergeek says: Oct 19, 2009. 7:22 PM REPLY
Thanks. I'm glad you like it!

Radiosity says: Oct 21, 2009. 9:37 PM REPLY


I just tried this and it worked great, but I just have one suggestion:

In your code you used the serial port "/dev/tty.usbserialA6006hmi", but this is dependent on which computer you are using. In my case I had to
replace both instances of that with "/dev/tty.usbserialA4001KMJ" (which was the port I had selected in the Arduino IDE) in order for my application to
properly send data to my arduino. I suggest to add a step in which you find out which serial port you are using and add it into the code. (Just to
prevent any confusion for somebody else reading this instructable)

Other than that great instructable and you have my vote!

guschabal says: Oct 19, 2009. 8:18 PM REPLY


Thanks men! I write a similar program using WPF Application and your code for C#(Windows)!

Thanks a lot!!

computergeek says: Oct 19, 2009. 8:23 PM REPLY


Your welcome!

jeff-o says: Oct 15, 2009. 10:37 AM REPLY


Very neat. How would you go about building a standaloneapplication that interfaces to the Arduino, but doesn't require theArduino IDE to be running?

Or is that the subject for a whole Instructable in itself?

computergeek says: Oct 15, 2009. 5:11 PM REPLY


I'm glad you like it! Are you using Mac OS X or Windows? If youhave Windows you don't need it open. But for some reason the Arduino IDEneeds to be
open in Mac OS X. It might be possible, but I have no clue.

jeff-o says: Oct 16, 2009. 5:23 AM REPLY


OS X. Not that I'm much of a programmer - I just thought it would be nice to build matching hardware and software. Could it be a driver issue? As
in, a driver that is only loaded when the IDE is running?

computergeek says: Oct 16, 2009. 11:24 AM REPLY


It isn't a driver problem, but how the code works. If you run:
"echo i > /dev/tty.usbserial-A6006hmi", "r"
in terminal with the the arduino serial monitor open it will also work. All popen() does it run code in terminal. Here's an article on this topic . I do
quite a bit of programming in cocoa, but not much with serial connections. So I'm fairly new to this.

jeff-o says: Oct 19, 2009. 5:51 AM REPLY


Ah, well, maybe that will be fixed someday if enough people complain. ;)

http://www.instructables.com/id/Controlling-an-Arduino-with-Cocoa/