[Mitchel Humpherys] and his fellow developers didn’t just develop a maze-solving algorithm, they also built a ping-pong ball maze platform that is computer controlled. Using a webcam the computer picks up the high-contrast maze by peering down from above, calculates the solution, and moves the ping-pong ball to the goal using two different tilt servos controlled by an 8051 microcontroller. But wait, there’s more! Why have the computer solve it when you can make a game out of a maze? Once the PC was thrown into the mix it was pretty easy to add Wii remote and Wii balance board control too. See these alternative inputs in action after the break.
Unsuspecting office workers beware. You may already be in the cross-hairs of a ping-pong ball launching robot. This covert robot hangs out on the other side of a suspended ceiling, waiting for its operator to unleash the fury. When put into action a hatch in a ceiling tile is raised and balls are launched at a cowering cube-dweller.
It looks like the balls are launched at a reasonable speed and won’t hurt anyone. The next generation of this bot should do a better job of integrating the trap door and be quieter. This would be a lot more fun if the victim couldn’t figure out where the heck that ball just came from.
Guess who built this contraption? You’re right, college students. But as much as we like to make fun, the subject of Beer Pong is our addition, not theirs. The device uses an air stream that can be directed along two axis to control and sort ping-pong balls.
Unlike the lethal ping-pong ball launcher, the goal here is elegant control of the ball. They’ve achieved a great success. Watch the video after the break to see balls sorted into beakers by color, transferred to vessels over a large distance, and navigated through an elevated obstacle course. To give us a hint of what you can do with this, we see the machine controlling an apple, an onion, and a water bottle at the end of the video.
Sometime the projects you see at the local hacker space are better left a secret when you return home for the evening. Case in point, this ping-pong ball launcher that can put holes in a sheet of OSB. The projectile is made more lethal because the ball has been injected with water to dramatically increase the density. Compressed air is used to propel it from the 14 round magazine with devastating effect.
We’ve embedded a video of the gun being fired after the break. The creator, [Ron Kessinger], demonstrated this at a Denver hacker space called Club Workshop. We’re hoping there’s no plans for turret automation because this thing’s dangerous! Either way, the significant other who usually watches out for our safety would never approve. [Read more...]
No matter what holiday you choose to acknowledge, you probably enjoy the thought of getting to put lights up everywhere. We know we do. Here are some instructions on how to make your own string of color changing lights. Sure, you can probably just buy a string of color changing lights for cheaper, but then you couldn’t arrange them however you want on the line, and you also wouldn’t get the satisfaction of doing it yourself.