Voice-Command Chess Board Powered By Alexa

Talking to computers used to be reserved for Star Trek and those with overactive imaginations. Now, it’s a regular part of daily life. [CodersCafe] decided to put this technology to work in a chess robot, with the help of Amazon’s digital assistant. 

The build relies on an Cartesian motion rig, built out of Lego Technics parts. The end effector is fitted with a magnet , fitted onto the Z-axis screw for engaging and disengaging with the pieces. A Mindstorms EV3 controller is used to run the show, hooked up over Bluetooth to an Amazon Echo. This allows the user to ask Alexa to move the pieces for the white player in natural language – by saying, for example, “move from B1 to C3”.

It’s a build that demonstrates how easy it is to create projects with advanced functionality by lacing together the correct off-the-shelf hardware. Other Cartesian-type motion platforms can make great chess robots, too. Video after the break.

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Chess Robot’s Got The Moves

[RoboAvatar]’s Chess Robot consists of a gantry-mounted arm that picks up chess pieces and places them in their new location, as directed by the software. The game begins when the human, playing white, makes a move. When a play has been made, the human player presses a button to let the robot to take its turn. You can see it in action in the videos we’ve posted below the break.

Running the robot is an Arduino UNO with a MUX shield as well as a pair of MCP23017 I/O expander chips — a total of 93 pins available! Thanks to all those pins, the Arduino is able to listen to 64 reed switches, one for every square.

The robot detects the human’s move by listening to its reed switches and identifying when there is a change. The gantry consists of X and Y tracks made out of PVC slabs, with half-inch lead screws turned by NEMA-23s and powered by ST-6600 stepper drivers.

Unlike some chess robots that rely on pre-existing software, this one features a custom minimax chess algorithm that [RoboAvatar] coded himself. It consists of Python scripts run on a computer, which interacts with the Arduino via a serial connection. In the second video, he explains how his algorithm works. You can also download the Arduino and Python files from [RoboAvatar]’s GitHub repository.

You’d be surprised how many chess-playing robots we’ve published, like the ChessM8 robot and this voice-controlled chess robot.

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Lonely? Build Yourself A Chess Robot!

[Oriol Galceran] has constructed an interesting robotic chess player for his end of school project. It’s called the ChessM8, and is an impressive feat considering [Oriol] is only 17!  He’s using an Arduino Mega that connects to the host PC via a Python script.

The AI can be any chess engine that uses the Universal Chess Interface protocol, which [Oriol] points out that most of them do.  We’ve seen other chess robots here before, along with others that you can play on your wall and uses Nixie Tubes. But [Oriol’s] build is the largest of them all.

He says there’s a network of REED switches under the chess board to detect when a piece is present or not. It would be interesting to know how he dealt with debouncing issues, and if Hall Effect sensors might have been a better choice. Let us know in the comments how you would detect the chess piece.

And be sure to check out the video below to see the chess robot in action.

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