Smartphone Will Destroy You at Air Hockey

Most of us carry a spectacularly powerful computer in our pocket, which we rarely use for much more than web browsing, social media, and maybe the occasional phone call. Our mobile phones are technological miracles, but their potential sometimes seems wasted.

It’s always a pleasure to see something that makes use of a mobile phone to drive some nuts-and-bolts hardware. [Jose Julio]’s project does just that, using the phone as the brains behind a robotic air hockey table.

Readers with long memories will remember previous air hockey tables from [Jose], using 3D printer components controlled by an Arduino Mega with a webcam suspended above the field of play. This version transfers camera, machine vision, and game strategy to an Android app, leaving the Arduino to control the hardware under wireless network command from above.

The result you can see in the video below the break is an extremely fast-paced game, with the robot looking unbeatable. If you want to build your own there are full instructions and code on GitHub, or if you follow the link from the page linked above, he sells the project as a kit.

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Robot Dominates Air Hockey, Frightens John Connor, Wayne Gretzky

We’ve all been disappointed at some point in our lives after yearning to play air hockey and not finding anyone to play against. This is no longer a problem at [Jose]’s house. He has built a very amazing Air Hockey Playing Robot. This robot moves in 2 directions, can predict the movements of the puck and also decide to block, shoot or a do a combination of both.

Surprisingly, most of the ‘robotics’ parts are 3D printer left overs, which includes: NEMA17 stepper motors, an Arduino Mega, a RAMPS board, motor drivers, belts, bearings and rods. The bracketry, puck and paddle are all 3D printed. The air hockey table itself was built from scratch using off-the-shelf wood. Two standard 90mm PC fans are all that are responsible for creating the air pressure used to lift the puck. A PS3 camera monitors the action and is literally this robot’s eye in the sky.

Check out the video and learn more about this project after the break.

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Robot air hockey championship as a final project

clemson-air-hockey-robots

My final project is build a robot that plays air hockey? Where do I sign up? Apparently you get yourself a seat in ECE496 at Clemson University. They have been using the concept as a final project for at least a couple of years. [Abe Froman] was on the winning design team this year and he’s showing off his robot and some winning games it played.

His robot is in the foreground. It uses a right-angle PVC joint to hold the paddle. The fitting is attached to a rack and pinion that drives it forward and back. The entire assembly is mounted on a rotating rig. Take a look at some of its opponents that use more of a plotter-type arm. Those offerings have too much play in the joints which at times causes the thing to miss.

Chances are good that once you get a job you won’t be asked to do things for the company unless they are money makers. Sure, there are a few notable exceptions,  but since you’re playing to go to school we really appreciate the professors making the learning as enjoyable as possible before you have to get serious (and maybe even wear a tie!).

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