This pair of quad-rotor helicopters does a better job of keeping a ping-pong ball in the air than we could. The two flying drones are performing inside of the flying machine arena, a 1000 cubic meter indoor space surrounded by nets with a foam-padded floor. This makes for a prototype-friendly space, protecting the copters from hard landings and the experimenters from the maiming that might accompany a runaway robot.
This project is headed by researcher [Raffaello D’Andrea]. Previously, we’ve seen his work on a distributed flight array. This time around he’s not working with configurable modules, but completely separate units. Don’t miss the video after the break to see several iterations used to keep a ball in the air. Each bot has the head of a tennis racket mounted at its center. Throw a ball at them and they’ll to what they can to prevent it touching the ground.
While we’re on the topic, we caught a story on NPR about hobby drones. Sounds like their growing popularity has caught the attention of the non-hacker community and restrictions might be on the way. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and make your own flyer while it’s still the wild-west of personal drones.
Continue reading “Quadcopter pair plays table tennis without the table”
If you’ve been lusting after your own glowing display we’re here to help by sharing some simple building techniques that will result in an interesting project like the one you see above. This is a super-accurate clock That uses ping-pong balls as diffusers for LEDs, but with a little know-how you can turn this into a full marquee display. Join me after break where I’ll share the details of the project and give you everything you need to know to build your own.
[Alex] wrote in to let us know about this Kinect controlled LED wall that was whipped up at the Tetalab hackerspace in Toulouse, France. The wall, which was built earlier in the year, uses some MAX7313 LED intensity controlling shift registers. Each gets its own board and controls the intensity of sixteen different red LEDs. They’re embedded in the wall module and covered with ping-pong balls as diffusers.
The recent activity on the project takes advantage of the Xbox Kinect. As you can see in the video after the break, they’ve used the open source Kinect drivers to capture 3D environment data, processing it into color gradients which are displayed on the Pong wall. Shouldn’t be long before they someone comes knocking on their door to install this in a dance club. We love the effect, especially because it works in a dark room and the LEDs don’t cause any interference with the video capture.
Continue reading “LED wall and Kinect join forces”
[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.
Continue reading “Maze solving”
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.
Continue reading “Robot hands you your ass at beer pong”