Iris 1.2 Robotic Arm

Eric Thill: Programmer, Author

The Iris 1.2 robot is a robotic arm designed by The Mind Project development team. It is a combination of software and hardware that has been years in the making. Students are able to interact with the Iris 1.2 arm by constructing the arm, creating scripts for arm movements, and utilizing the Iris software package. Video and PDF instruction sets are provided on to ensure that the Iris robotic arm is constructed properly. The step-by-step instructions and videos give students a full tutorial on how to utilize the Iris software package.


Video Introduction

This is a one Minute (overly dramatic) video introduction to the Iris 1.2 Robotic Arm

Introduction to Iris 1.2 Robotic Arm (mp4)

Parallax Firmware Download

The Parallax motor controller is a key part of the Iris 1.2 arm. This section is dedicated to providing the necessary tutorials and software to use the Parallax board.

Parallax Driver
Parallax Software

Iris 1.2 Assembly/Software Tutorials & Downloads

Assembly instructions for the Iris 1.2 arm is available in several different forms. The complete version with pictures and videos is available on the Full Webpage. A textual description with images is available in the PDF.

WEBPAGE (w/ Video) Assembly Instructions
PDF Assembly Instructions
Software Downloads and Instructions
  • Iris Software Installation
    • If not already installed, install .NET 3.5
    • Unzip Iris from the downloaded zip file. In windows you can do this by right clicking the file and clicking "Extract All..."
    • You can run Iris by double-clicking the Iris1.bat or Iris5.bat file that is contained in the Iris\Run directory. To make it easier to access, you can create a shortcut to this file on the desktop if you wish.
  • .NET 3.5
    (external link)
  • Iris Software Download
Iris Software Tutorials

The Iris software package can be difficult to navigate. These guides should help familiarize the reader with the features of the Iris 1.2 software package.


The Iris 1.2 robotic arm is a physical example of the principles of robotics in action, but the Iris 1.2 arm is just a small part of The Mind Project's robotics curriculum. Explore these links to learn more about robots and those principles that serve as the foundation for robot behavior

This is our comprehensive online introduction to robotics module, including one stand-alone top-down virtual robotics lab and two bottom-up virtual robotics labs embedded in an introduction to robotics that includes dozens of videos of robots in action, with a special emphasis on their use in the medical field.

Introduction to Robotics

Here are activities. You can download a "map" to use with the Iris 1.2 robotic arm. You can create your own activities or you can do some of ours. The most elaborate is to ask the students to solve the "Farmer Problem". Hope these work with your students.

Iris 1.2 Robot Activities

This module was supported by National Science Foundation Grants #9981217 and #0127561 and a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) #R25RR020425, supported by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).