Reading an additional sensor data with IONI

Hello all!
Is it possible to read an additional sensor data with IONI cube,
and then pass these data to the master controller (PC) using Simple Motion bus/library?

We are developing the project of a collaborative robot.
My idea is to mount IONI (with the motherboard) inside every robot joint.
IONI would drive joint servo (loop closed with an incremental encoder on the shaft)
and also gather some additional data from other sensors (every joint will also have an absolute encoder on the gear side and accelerometer/gyro). Sensors can be selected to offer the required communication protocol (my favorites are I2C, SPI, etc. - some universal, known interface). Is there any way to communicate those sensors with IONI? If so - is it possible to send custom data frame from IONI controllers to the master controller (PC) via SimpleMotion bus / library?

This kind of setup would allow us to control the robot using only one cable for communication (daisy-link between IONIs and PC).


At the moment there is no such feature out-of-the-box. Couple of options come in my mind:

  • Order a customized firmware for IONI drive that reads the sensor and makes it readable thru the SM bus. This would be probably a fixed functionality for some specific sensor(s) and not as flexible as you described unless lots of effort is put in it. It will cost some GD development time.
  • Create an own SimpleMotion slave device (basically a MCU and a RS485 transceiver) that provides just the required features. Few people have done this and it’s doable if you have a microcontroller programming skills at your disposal.

Let me know how the options sound.

BTW, I think your idea is great. I have wrote down it on our FW development ideas to be considered to be implemented in standard FW. No ETA or promises yet can be made.

Thanks for the response!
It’s nice to hear that You liked my idea.
I’m gonna go with the IONIs for driving axes and
additional cable for gathering sensors data, plugged
into the PC through I/O card.
But I will for sure wait for some good news, because
the less cables, devices, software protocols etc. - the better.