Tapster - Mobile Automation Robot

by hugs, published

Tapster - Mobile Automation Robot by hugs Jul 25, 2013
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BSD License
Tapster - Mobile Automation Robot by hugs is licensed under the BSD License license.

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Tapster is a robot for automating mobile applications on a mobile device.
As seen in Wired, TechCrunch, and on TV!


  • Simulates a human finger on a capacitive touchscreen device
  • Open source hardware (BSD License)
  • 3D printable
  • Made with Bitbeam, an open-source 3D printable LEGO-Technic compatible building system.
  • Programmed with Node.js + Johnny-Five + Arduino (Nodebots FTW!)
  • Designed by the creator of Selenium, the popular browser automation tool.
  • USB powered (5V)
  • Tappable area is 140mm x 80mm (Ideal for Nexus 4, iPhone 4, or iPhone 5)

    Why would I want this?

    Use Tapster to automate apps on mobile devices, such as iPhone or Android. If you're a software developer, any time you change a line of code, you need to check that every important interaction still works in the app on a real device. Sure, you can manually check things yourself, or have your friends and family do it for you a few times, but that gets old quickly. Life is too short for manual testing -- have a robot do it for you!
    Main project files can be tracked here:
    Follow the robot on Twitter:
    Obligatory YouTube action video!:
    If you want a Tapster and would rather spend some money to save printing and assembly time, I'm selling the robot on Tindie:

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new on here... wondering where i can find the stl version of the files I've seen on Github because the ones on there aren't matching these. sorry if this is a dumb question.

Thanks for opensourcing this!

hahaha or instead of all that you can use a testing suite which simulates keypresses.

I've started several popular testing tool projects over the years (Selenium, Appium), worked at Google and for the White House on test automation projects, and started two test automation companies (Sauce Labs, Tapster). A robot like Tapster is useful for the test cases that can't be simulated. Car manufacturers, mobile phone manufactures, telecom companies (among many others) all use real robots as part of their testing processes. Thanks for your feedback, though.

You started selenium? I've used that tool a bunch! Thanks man. Not sure why I posted that comment, I've since learned about manual testing

This is really cool.

Is there any robot which can help us automating the NFC tapping?

Hi Hugs,

Do you have a wiring diagram for the top plate? I couldn't seem to find one. Thanx in advance.

How many parts of each piece do I need to print?

The number of parts are listed in the bill of materials on GitHub: https://github.com/hugs/tapsterbot/blob/master/BOM.md#bitbeamhttps://github.com/hugs/tapste...

I'm still working on proper build instructions. But you can find a rough cut here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157634689374194/http://www.flickr.com/photos/9...

@hugs Feedback/Question. The top and bottom plates are about a centimetre too wide for my replicator. I'm wondering if you have a slightly smaller plate or if you think it's possible to scale it down slightly.

I print on a Lulzbot AO-101, which is styled after a MendelMax RepRap. Officially, the available print surface is 19cm x 20cm 1. I also use Slic3r to create the gcode. I've found that after I import the STL for the top and bottom plates, I have to rotate the plate 90 degrees to get them to just fit in the printable area.

I did a bit of digging... Looks like Replicator's specs are 22.5cm x 14.5cm, and Replicator 2 is 28.5cm x 15.3cm. So, yeah, my plates are perfect for my Lulzbot, but too big for a Replicator. :-(

I would not recommend simply scaling down the size. All the holes would be scaled down, then, too, and then none of the bolts would fit.

If you're feeling crafty with OpenSCAD, you might want to look into slicing the plates into several smaller pieces. The base.scad file can be found in the project repo. 2.

The other thing you might want to try is to print a Bitbeam base plate. 4 Again, you'd have to modify the scad source file to print as large of a plate as you can on your replicator. Then, it usual Lego/Bitbeam fashion, use connector beams and bolts to connect your plates into a larger plate.

Good luck!

Bitbeam 20x20 Baseplate
by hugs

Just one little question: What kind of stylus is that?

Ups didn't see the BOM sorry

No sorry required. I didn't mean to sound rude. (I probably wrote that at 4am half asleep)

No need to be sorry, @plaetzchen! Several people have asked me which tablet stylus I used. I'm very happy to share the information. (It took me a long time to find the right one that was just the right size for my robot!)

Pretty cool! You could even write programs that would root a phone or do some other type of hack and share it with people who had the machine but had little software hacking skills. Like a hack or a setup that required downloading and linking multiple apps and changing settings to get it to work.