Revolutionizing Motor Control
If you’re a tinkerer or creator, motors are an essential part of your many projects. We are accustomed to controlling them with Arduino boards and creating a mess just to solve a simple problem. Everyone has an idea that needs a motor, but not everyone appreciates the effort required to get one up and running.
We are OpenMYR, and we are changing the way you control motors. We've created open-source WiFi motors that contain everything you need to motorize your projects built right in. No rat’s nest of wiring, all you need to do is supply power. You simply send the motor commands over WiFi, eliminating the need for programming a controller every time you have a great idea for a project.
A Wireless Motor for a Wireless World
The basis of our idea was simple, to create a motor that could be controlled wirelessly by users of all skill levels. No reflashing Arduino code until it works properly, no shields to operate motors and connect to networks, no breadboards. We wanted motors that you can drop into a project and immediately begin using.
When you plug your motor in for the first time, it immediately broadcasts its own WiFi network. You can connect to it and begin moving your motor, or you can tell it to connect to your own network and control it from there. We provide simple tools for configuration and control, such as smartphone apps and the motors’ built-in web page. For power users, we provide a simple protocol to send commands over a network so that you can create powerful systems to control your projects.
No matter your skill level, our technology makes motorizing your projects a breeze. If you want to make a light switch you can flip with a smartphone app, you can do that without breaking a sweat. If you want to make a robot arm with complex real-time movement, it took us two days.
Two Solutions for Many Projects
We are proud to introduce OpenMYR’s line of wireless motors. We offer two different products for your varying needs.
Our flagship product is the WiFi Stepper Motor, an all-in-one package for when you need strength or an unlimited range of motion. A stepper motor can move continuously both clockwise and counterclockwise while providing a large amount of torque. All stepper motors can lose their position if overpowered.
The WiFi Stepper Motor package consists of a NEMA-17 stepper motor attached to a case with our control hardware built-in. Every WiFi Stepper Motor has its own OpenMYR WiFi Stepper Control Board.
Our second product is the WiFi Servo Controller, suited for applications where size and weight are a concern. Hobby servo motors come in many shapes and sizes, specialized for different tasks, but they can only move a limited amount in either direction.
Because servo motors are by their nature varied and interchangeable with a common interface, we have decided to offer a slim, streamlined board that can control up to four servo motors at once rather than a singular motor with its own built-in controller like the Stepper motor. This way, you can use the servos you need, using our hardware and software as a hub for your project. We include 1 to 4 metal-geared micro hobby servos with each board.
WiFi Motors and You
We have made it a focus that our wireless motors can be used by everyone. A casual user will appreciate the simplicity of the setup and the ease of control they have with our apps and tools. With our motors, all you need is an idea. Simply drop it into your project and give it power. When it comes time to control the motor, it is as easy as going to the motor's website or running our app. Whether you want to control it in real-time, send a sequence of commands or schedule actions to happen at a certain time, we have simple interfaces for all of them. With our motors you can focus on your project and forget the hassle of setting up motors.
Advanced users will find that our motors open up possibilities for designing complex wireless control systems. Our motors can be commanded over UDP and HTTP with either JSON or hex packets, so any scripting or programming language that can send data over a network can be used to move the motors. You can create powerful controls without having to deal with embedded platforms such as the Arduino; an example of this is our robot arm project that receives positional data from a Kinect through a Node.js script. If a project requires changes to the motor’s firmware, you can modify our open-source code and send your new firmware to the device over the air.
OpenMYR is Open Source
We on the OpenMYR team have long had an appreciation for the open-source community and the technologies that it’s given the world. We knew from the very beginning that if we were to make these WiFi motors, we would want both our hardware and software to be open source so that the community could take complete and total advantage of our work. It’s why there’s an “Open” in “OpenMYR.”
Open source means that our work is entirely transparent. You can grab both our hardware designs and firmware source code right now from GitHub and follow our progress on the built-in issue tracker. As we continue to develop the motor software, you’ll be able to see us fill in the features we’ve promised, make improvements to features already present and squash bugs before and after the motors arrive on your doorstep.
It also means that if you need specialized firmware, you can grab our code and modify it to fit your niche. You can fork our software and publish your own variant, and even submit a pull request to our repository. If you want to print our hardware designs or use them as a basis for your own customized boards, you can grab our EagleCAD files for both stepper and servo controllers and go to town; we even made sure they are small and simple enough to open in the free version of the program.
At OpenMYR, we want our motors to be a dependable asset to the communities of makers and coders. Our open-source approach ensures that these communities have the perfect motors to work and play with.
- Wireless Control: When you first turn our motors on, they broadcast their own WiFi network that you can connect to. From there, you can begin controlling your motor, or you can have it connect to another WiFi network, such as that of your home, office or school. At no point will you ever have to plug it in a computer in order to talk to it.
- Easy to Use: Running your motor is simple and painless. We have provided smartphone apps and computer software to control your motors, so you don’t need to do any programming on your part to get started. The motors even have built-in websites so that you can control them with themselves!
- A Powerful API: Our protocol is simple to use and we will document it well, making it easy to create complex control systems for your projects. When you get this deep, you’ll be able to do powerful things with your motors- just check out our robot arm, or our dueling skitterbots piloted by the Twitch community!
- Over-the-Air Loading: Our motors will be able to receive new software wirelessly, whether it is a new official release or customized work by the community. We want updating to be as painless as cycling the motor’s power. Getting the latest bugfixes and features over WiFi will be as easy as controlling the motor.
- An Open System: Our motors are rooted heavily on the spirit of open-source software. If you want to use our work as a blueprint for your own variants, go right ahead. If you want to modify our code and put it on the device, you can do that. In fact, you can blow away all of our code and replace it if you want.
- A Simple Package: Our products are designed to be easily integrated into any project. Our WiFi Stepper Motor has an inline case on the bottom of the motor, and the only exposed wire is the power plug. Our WiFi Servo Controller is a slim, small board that can be discreetly integrated into a project without taking up much room at all.
- Expandable: If you wish to increase the capabilities of your motors, we have expansion pins for plugging in accessories such as sensors or endstops. If we don’t currently support an attachment you want, support can be added into our open-source firmware and possibly integrated into the official code base!
- A Worthy Computer: Espressif’s ESP8266 microcomputer is quickly becoming one of the most popular platforms on the market. It is a system on a chip with a complete integrated WiFi controller. With an 80MHz processor and 4MB of flash memory, it was a perfect choice to build our motors around.
- Flexible Supply Voltage: Our on-board power supply can operate the controller within a wide range of voltages. Whether you want to run your motors hot or lean, the board will still work. This, along with the ease of making Deans cables, makes it so you can power the motor any way your project needs.
- Open Hardware: The concept of open source hardware is often met with criticism; although the designs are free, the average person often can’t replicate the hardware. From our case to our plugs, every part is designed for easy replication. We have even designed a case that works without our custom bolts.
Every WiFi Stepper Motor and WiFi Servo Controller comes with its own power supply.
OpenMYR was founded by Kyle Berezin when he attempted to assemble an early 3D printer from a kit. The whole process was like pulling teeth, with a frustrating ending where the printer didn’t print so much as make post-modern sculptures. Kyle decided to design his own printer along with Chris Adams, our PCB designer. This was the first project worked on under the moniker of “OpenMYR.” While producing 3D printers was too ambitious for their resources, one of the ideas they discussed for it was the use of wireless motors to eliminate the need for data cables.
When the duo investigated wireless motors, they were surprised that such a product didn’t already exist. In fact, the use of stepper and servo motor projects often seemed to be quite unwieldy, requiring messy, fragile systems to work at all. Realizing that there was unexplored potential in the world of motors, Kyle and Chris decided to develop the WiFi motor as its own project.
OpenMYR is based in Syracuse, a city in central New York. Surrounded by the beautiful landscape of Upstate NY, OpenMYR spends most of their time in working in a basement, surrounded by prototypes, projects, 3D printer fumes and laptops. We fuel our work with excellent food, cooked in-house. We name our code releases after our favorite dishes, such as “0.3.0 Pulled Pork.”
With your help, OpenMYR can revolutionize the world of motors. We want to build a foundation for further open-source software and hardware, such as additional motor types and a potential line of home automation products.
About the Team
For appearing in the video, we would like to thank Chris Therre, Jimmy Flannigan, Albert Sans, Paula Sans, and Donny.
For lending equipment used for video and image production, we would like to thank Jeff Berezin and Tres Finocchiaro.
Thank you to Steve Cody for co-writing the video script and providing feedback.
Additional thanks to Tom Bergmier and Paul Gelling for design consultation.
Finally, thank you to friends and family for your support through this adventure.
Risks and challenges
Injection molding: Injection molds are hard! We are working with a local machine shop with industry experience to make our molds. If there is a problem that needs fixing or a change that needs to be made, it is a short drive to be there discussing it in person. Changes can be made and tested in days instead of weeks.
Logistics and shipping: We have a great product and we hope a great many people willing to back our Kickstarter. It is important not to underestimate the difficulty of bringing those two things together. We have spreadsheets and quotes for every conceivable shipping cost, as well as plans for every amount of funding.
Sourcing and procurement: We have multiple suppliers lined up for every part, so if one of our sources can't deliver, we can fall back on another option.
Helping is easy! Share our project with your friends, help us get out there! If you want to give counsel, advice or questions email us at Contact@OpenMYR.com, we are always happy to talk.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)