DIYer’s air hockey robot can precisely track and smack rebounding pucks
It might just be a matter of time before humans have air hockey matches with robots. And, these robots will probably kick our puny arses in those matches! At least, that is what Jose Julio’s 3D printed robotic contrivance nonchalantly demonstrates with its ‘super-human’ ability to predict the course of the rebounding pucks. So, how will the robot actually respond to these fast moving pucks? Well, the contraption moves along a two dimensional linear path along the table’s edge on one side. And it craftily utilizes a built-in camera mechanism to follow and determine the whimsical trajectories of the small object.
Born from 3D printing, made for 3D printing – many of the robot’s crucial components were actually salvaged from a RepRap 3D printer. These parts include – NEMA17 stepper motors, drivers, Arduino Mega, RAMPS, belts, bearings, rods and other assorted printed pieces.
On the other hand, the puck and the paddle were actually made by 3D printing. That leaves out the table, which was crafted from commercially available wood boards and wood slats. The inside ‘air’ mechanism was further contrived from two old PC cooler fans.
Lastly, as for the working scope of the air hockey robot, we did mention its unique capability to predict the path of the fast moving puck. On recognizing this complicated pattern (that also includes the rebounds off the walls), the paddle automatically moves to block and smack the round object.
And, in case the robot is scoring over you, which should be most of the times, you can alter the robot’s expert level by adjusting its response algorithm. However, the best part is – you can build one yourself, by following the requirements and instructions (in Google Drive) given by the creator himself.