Mind-Control Robot Controller

Esp32 Based Robot Behavior Remote Control Module.

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ESP32 Behavior Control Module

The goal of this project is to create a portable wireless control module that enables dynamically enforcing robot behavior parameters remotely through a simple interface.

This is part of the overarching Behavioral Robotics project, to aid in training behaviors.

It utilizes an ESP32 board with a small OLED display and tactile buttons. The ESP32 runs an SSH client to navigate and manipulate configuration files for robot behaviors.

The controller connects wirelessly to an SSH server on a local computer which then takes the updated config parameters directly into the Holotype "Cognition" ROS2 node at runtime. This allows for adjusting thresholds, sensor coefficients, decision logic, and other variables that shape the robot's behavioral responses.

Using this controller, the robot can be given positive/negative reinforcement for behaviors in real time.


  • Esp32
  •  LCD
  •  Possibly a knob (similar to ipod control)
  •  Maybe some buttons for selecting
  • Plug for external keyboard?


  • SSH
  • Ranger-like interface

Design Notes:

  • Maybe use modular/plugin design for buttons/knobs
  • Interface focuses on traversing  a remote file tree in order to change variables in a ROS nodes config.
  • Variables can be mapped to buttons to trigger their changing.

  • Inspiration

    Holotype Robotics12/19/2023 at 15:57 0 comments

    The idea for this wireless robot behavior control module came from discovering ESPboy, a versatile ESP8266-based device with a display, buttons, speaker and extensions for applications ranging from gaming to IoT experiments.

    What stood out about ESPboy was the simplicity of design and wireless connectivity. It provided interactive real-time manipulation through a remote terminal.

    I realized a similar concept could be applied to robotics - enabling tweaking behavior configurations and variables on the fly remotely rather than at a computer or needing to hard code changes and restart. Since usually only minor adjustments are needed to tune behaviors, this allows faster iteration.

    This control module seeks to replicate ESPboy's simplicity for real-time interactivity. Running an SSH server on the robot allows remote access from the handheld unit to directly update configurations being fed into the cognition model.

    Inspired by ESPboy’s accessibility and extensibility, this module brings that same rapid tweaking capability to robot platforms. Quickly reinforcing behaviors by providing positive and negative rewards can accelerate learning. The wireless interface separates out experiment complexity.

    The goal is responsive robots through responsive controls. More to come as this concept takes shape.

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