Watching robots doing sports is pretty impressive from a technical viewpoint, although we secretly smile when we compare these robots’ humble attempts to our own motoric skills. Now, a new robot named Robomintoner seeks to challenge human players, and it’s already darn good at badminton.
We first thought [Alexis Ospitia]’s watch was a sports watch made with an Arduino, but it’s actually a sporty watch made with an Arduino. This explains the watch’s strange ability to tell you the current temperature and humidity.
The core of the watch is an Arduino Mini. To make it good for time telling, a real-time clock module was added. A DHT11 monitors the temperature and humidity. A charge circuit and lithium battery provide power. Finally, the watch displays the date, time, and other data with an LCD from a Nokia 5110. We can tell you the last part that’s going to break on this.
Even if you think the watch is a bit chunky, the tutorial is very slick. [Alexis] has taken the trouble to individually draw and describe each portion of the watch’s construction. He explains each pin, what they do, and provides a Fritzing drawing of the wires to the Arduino. The code is provided; to program the watch a USB-to-serial module must be used.
For the housing he made a box from a thin gauge aluminum sheet and attached leather straps to the assembly. The final construction is cool looking in a techno-punk way, and is fairly compact. One might even say sporty.
A lot of young athletes who get concussions each year go undiagnosed, leading to brain injury. [Hunter Scott] is working on a device called Impact to help detect these events early. According to this article which discusses the issue of concussion recognition and evaluation, “Early identification on the sports sideline of suspected concussion is critical because, in most cases, athletes who are immediately removed from contact or collision sports after suffering a concussion or other traumatic brain injury will recover without incident fairly quickly. If an athlete is allowed to keep playing, however, their recovery is likely to take longer, and they are at increased risk of long-term problems”
The device is a dime sized disk, which has an ATTiny85 microcontroller, memory to hold data, an accelerometer and a LED which gets activated when the preset impact threshold is breached, all driven by a coin cell. This small size allows it to be easily embedded in sports equipment such as helmets. At the end of a game, if the LED is blinking, the player is then screened for a concussion. For additional analysis, data stored on the on-board memory can be downloaded. This can be done by a pogo-pin based docking station, which is what [Hunter Scott] is still working on.
He’s having a functional problem that needs fixing. The ATTiny85 cannot be programmed with the accelerometer populated. He first needs to populate the ATTiny85, program it, and then populate the accelerometer. He’s working in fixing that, but if you have any suggestions, chime in on the comments below. We’d like to add that [Hunter] is a prolific hacker. His project, the Ultra-wideband radio module was a Hackaday Prize semi-finalist last year.
The 2015 Hackaday Prize is sponsored by:
As a recent Mech E grad, [Alessandro Timmi] knows a lot about moving bodies. His thesis, Virtual Sensei, aims to quantify those movements for better coaching and training in martial arts.
Virtual Sensei uses a Kinect for motion capture during training. From there, the skeleton recorded by the Kinect has a little bit of processing applied and the speed of the fists is calculated. Check out the demo vid for a much better explanation of what Virtual Sensei can do.
Considering the number of sports that require precise alignment of the skeleton and timing of certain movements, we’re thinking this could be the breakout (non-video game) app to get the Kinect into the wild. Golf pros would love to record the swings of their students to make sure their shoulders are aligned.
Most of the Kinect hacks we’ve seen are either robot builds with a few 3D scanners and virtual wardrobes thrown into the mix. Virtual Sensei is a pretty impressive piece of software and with a few additional sports could make a killing.
Check out the freakin awesome animated FAQ and a demo video below.