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

Picture of 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
 
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Step 1: Stuff you need:

Picture of Stuff you need:
Hardware:
- Arduino
- A-B USB Cable
- Computer with Mac OS X

Software:
- Xcode
- Arduino IDE

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

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

Step 4: Programming the Arduino

Picture of Programming the Arduino
Picture 2.png
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

Step 5: Using, Notes, & More Ideas

Picture of 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

cgrrty1 year ago
MARK ! So cool.
frankiensl1 year ago
sh: /dev/tty.usbmodemfd131: Permission denied appear in Xcode 5.0.2
Can't turn on the LED. Can anyone help ? Please
gotramaval3 years ago
Hello, nice tutorial!

I have a problem here, when building the code. When I press command + b, i get the "Expected specifier-qualifier-list before '-' token" error on the lines


-(IBAction)ledOn:(id)sender;
-(IBAction)ledOff:(id)sender;

of manicontroller.h file.

Im using Xcode 3.2.6 on a SLeopard 10.6.8

Do you people have a clue on this problem??

Thank you very much
Make sure the IBActions are not in parentheses
Thank you, i will try!
eloya3 years ago
Hello, well i have a problem, when I click in the button ON it doesnt turn on the led, so i think the problem is in the Baud because it need to be in 9600, so I want to know if you know how to change the Baud in the popen() function.
A-Nony-Mus3 years ago
I'm trying to modify this for picaxe (using the same code for cocoa), and I keep getting an error message in Xcode: sh: /dev/tty.usbserial-000013FD: Resource busy. Any idea what I should do?
Very informative. I find "Processing" very interesting in interfacing and controlling the serial port of an Arduino by Mac.
I pass through your article when I was seeking a simple way to communicate with my Arduino from the Internet. After many days of unsecessful reseach, I decided to make one application of my own.

So I made up a Mac application that can relay strings send from the Internet to a connected serial device and vice versa. I now think I must share because this app is very useful for me. So maybe you'll find that too!
interesting, I'm sure I'll find a use for this. Thanks
rom_4 years ago
Greatly appreciated.
My Arduino is in the post, can't wait to get started.
dude i love you
jsklein5 years ago
Thanks! It worked great but I had to change the serial port number from the one you gave (A6006hmi) to my Arduino's own serial port number. It took my a while so maybe you could write in that you have to use your serial port number and not the one you give. Thanks again!
D5quar35 years ago
 does it matter what version OS X i have
adamohern5 years ago
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?
beak905 years ago
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.
andrew1015 years ago
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?
oh, nevermind, after a quick arduino reset it recognizes it. nice :)
Radiosity5 years ago
  Very nice! I'm going to try this next chance I get. Thanks!
computergeek (author)  Radiosity5 years ago
 Thanks. I'm glad you like it!
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!
guschabal5 years ago
Thanks men! I write a similar program using WPF Application and your code for C#(Windows)!

Thanks a lot!!
computergeek (author)  guschabal5 years ago
 Your welcome!
jeff-o5 years ago
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 (author)  jeff-o5 years ago
 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.
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 (author)  jeff-o5 years ago
 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.
Ah, well, maybe that will be fixed someday if enough people complain.  ;)