Swift Robot Arm

In a previous post, I wrote about controlling my OWI robot arm with Elixir. Well, I decided to port that to Swift!

In that post, there’s a link to some code that does it in Objective-C with IOKit. I first tried to just do a straight port and use IOKit in Swift. That didn’t work to well. The IOKit API is an old Core Foundation library and even has some old COM style APIs. There’s some complex macros as well that do not even get transferred to Swift, so you have to find their definition and and put them in a Swift constant or function. I couldn’t even get it to compile.

So, I looked at the low-level libusb C code that the Elixir project used and decided to just port that to Swift. It was tricky getting all the C pointer to pointers to variable sized structures working with Swift’s UnsafeMutablePointers and such but once I satisfied the compiler it pretty much worked.

I then refactored things and created a OWIRobotArm class with a nice API, pretty similar to the Elixir API. I’ve put the code up in a Github repository called SwiftArm. You can find it here.

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