Score Big Against Boredom With Tabletop Bowling

Bowling has been around since ancient Egypt and continues to entertain people of all ages, especially once they roll out the fog machine and hit the blacklights. But why pay all that money to don used shoes and drink watered-down beer? Just build a tabletop bowling alley in your spare time and you can bowl barefoot if you want.

Those glowing pins aren’t just for looks — the LEDs underneath them are part of the scoring system. Whenever a pin is knocked out of its countersunk hole, the LED underneath is exposed and shines its light on a corresponding light-dependent resistor positioned overhead. An Arduino Uno keeps track of of the frame, ball number, and score, and displays it on an LCD.

The lane is nearly six feet long, so this is more like medium-format bowling or maybe even skee-bowling. There are probably a number of things one could use for balls, but [lainealison] is using large ball bearings. Roll past the break to see it in action, but don’t go over the line!

Can’t keep your balls out of the gutter? Build a magic ball and make all wishful leaning more meaningful as you steer it down the lane with your body.

Continue reading “Score Big Against Boredom With Tabletop Bowling”

Cheating At Bowling, The Hacker Way

Anyone who has ever gone to a bowling alley will know the preferred (but ineffective) technique to telepathically control a bowling ball. [Mark Rober] and [James Bruton] decided to change that and hacked a bowling ball that can be steered remotely (and discreetly), simply by leaning your body.

They started with a standard bowling ball, that was cut in half and hollowed out on a lathe. A beam sits on the centre line of the ball, mounted on a bearing in each half to allow the ball to spin around it. Steering done by shifting the centre of mass, by moving a steel pendulum that hangs below the beam side to side with heavy-duty servo. The servo is controlled with an Arduino, and an IMU to detects the balls orientation. Power is provided by and RC Lipo battery. The wireless controller is a sneaky little device that is taped to [Mark]’s back and covered with clothing, and steers the ball by detecting how far he leans with an IMU module. The brain is an Arduino Mini and an NRF24L01 provides the RF link.

While it’s not an easy build, it’s a fairly simple system electronically, with off the shelf electronics modules and perfboard. The genius is in the implementation and its entertainment value. The look on the kids faces when [Mark] “telepathically” controls the ball, after showing off the fact that he has zero natural ability, is absolutely priceless. [Mark Rober], a former NASA engineer, has made a name for himself with viral Youtube videos on cool projects like a glitter booby trap for package thieves and a liquid sand hot tub. [James Bruton], a former toy designer is known for his robotics prowess that he has put on display with OpenDog and functional Star Wars robots.

For us this hack is a perfect example of one that entertains and inspires, a powerful combination for young and old alike. Check out the awesome video after the break. Continue reading “Cheating At Bowling, The Hacker Way”

Retrotechtacular: Robots And Bowling Pins

On a recent bowling excursion it occurred to us that this is one of the most advanced robotics systems most Americans will directly interact with. That’s a bold claim today, but certainly one that was correct decades ago. Let’s take a stroll back to 1963 for a look at the state of the art in bowling at the time, the AMF automatic pinspotter.

With their basis in industrial automation, bowling was a perfect problem for the American Machine and Foundry company (AMF) to take on. Their business began at the turn of the 20th century with automated cigarette manufacturing before turning their sights on bowling pins after the second world war. The challenge involves more than you might think as pinspotters are confined to a narrow area and need to work with oddly-shaped pins, the bowling ball itself, and deal with setting up fresh frames but also clearing out the field after the first roll.

Separating the ball from the pins is handled by gravity and an oscillating plunger that pushes errant pins back onto a conveyor. That conveyor stretches the width of the lane and moves pins back to a pin elevator — a wheel moving perpendicular to the ground with orients and raises them to a swiveling conveyor belt that can drop them into the setting jig waiting for the next full frame setup.

Everything in this promo video has jargon which is just delightful. We especially enjoyed the non-mechanical mention of how the machine “clears dead wood from the pin deck”. We could watch this kind of automation all day, and in fact found some other gems while searching about. Here’s a more recent look a the AMF 82-70 (the same model as in the promo video). We also wondered about manual pinspotting and found this manual-with-mechanical-assist setup to be interesting despite the audio.

Much to our surprise we’ve featured AMF in a Retrotectacular article before. Once their bowling automation started to take off, they set their sights on restaurant automation. Looks like Brian Benchoff’s visit to the robo-hamburger joint was actually a retro experience!

Continue reading “Retrotechtacular: Robots And Bowling Pins”

Hackaday Links: Friday The 13th, 2009

Thecoolingcoil1 (Custom)

This wort cooler looks beautiful. No, it’s not for removing warts, it’s part of the brewing process for the nectar of the gods. Even if it wasn’t meant to create alcohol, we would be drawn in by those pretty copper curves.

rc900 (Custom)

We’re not surprised at all to see this remote-controlled bowling ball. We’ve seen remote-controlled spheres several times and this just seems like the logical conclusion. We wish there were some build details though. [via neatorama]

_live_media_site577_2009_1106_20091106_070015_TN00-PanAm-sh11 (Custom)

When [Anthony Toth] an aircraft enthusiast, decided remodel his garage, he shot for the sky. He has recreated the first class cabin of a Pan Am 747 circa the 1970s. It took him nearly 20 years to scavenge the parts and over $50,000 to pull it all together. [via makezine]

F9BRC5KG1QWAWR9.MEDIUM (Custom)

This super cheap simple cable tester caught our eye. There’s nothing complicated here, pretty common sense really. Why didn’t we think of it?

ph11 (Custom)

Over the years, Asimo has become a household name. At least in geek households. We’ve seen him go from crazy looking walking microwave prototype, to giant scary space man monster, to the lovable little guy we know now. You can see the full evolution of Asimo in this picture series.

Untitled-1

Got an old box camera? Want to use it with modern 35mm film? Here’s a guide to getting it to work. It mainly just involves making a simple mounting bracket.

galaxydress_1 (Custom)

We like LEDs a lot, but this is getting ridiculous. This dress has 24,000 LEDs. They power it with iPod batteries spread throughout the dress. This cuts down on the bulk and helps distribute the weight.

temperature-controlled-mug-pcm (Custom)

Coffee cup technology hasn’t changed much in the last bazillion years. We’re pretty sure cave people carved them from stone, and now they’re made from ceramic which really isn’t that different. Some researchers are changing all that, and designing a coffee cup that is supposed to regulate its temperature in a new way. This mug is manufactured with internal convection channels and is made from a material known for its temperature regulation called PCM. Interesting, but it will probably cost much more than a simple insulated thermos. [via neatorama]