I was inspired by the RoboCup robot soccer competition. Clearly, soccer is much too complex to tackle in 37 hours, so I looked for simpler games that we could have a robot play. What better game to play then Pong?

What it does

It plays pong!

How I built it

I used a Raspberry Pi camera module to capture continuous video of a game board with a moving ping pong ball. I used OpenCV to analyze the images and predict the behavior of the ball, so that the robot could successfully respond to it. I used servo motors to control the position of the paddle that the robot moved. I 3D printed several moving parts, particularly some of the tricky hinges.

Challenges I ran into

Finding the right way to make sense of the video feed and handling noisy measurements was tough.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

The robot actually blocks some shots that humans make!

What I learned

Computer Vision and robotics are really interesting.

What's next for IRL Pong

I'd like to make robots that play other, harder games.

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