Pinball is loads of fun, but we wanted to make a project that is also educational! We combined these interests to form Reganball Z!
What it does
Reaganball Z is a pinball machine themed around the Reagan administration. It includes useful features that teach the user about the Reagan administration and encourage them to learn more, including notable supreme court justices that Reagan placed on the bench.
How we built it
We used a dragonboard to host the main pinball game logic. Thin pinball software communicates through serial to an Atmega chip provided by the "sensor mezzanine" attachment on the top. The atmega chip communicates with the sensors that detect the metal ball through a simple serial protocol we defined. The components for the pinball machine are cut out of foamboard, except for the flippers that we designed in Autodesk and 3d printed.
The user interface is rendered using SFML in c++, with graphics created in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.
The serial communication is done through the boost::asio library.
Challenges We Ran Into
Wires get unplugged easily. Pinball machines require a lot of logistics.
Accomplishments that We're Proud Of
We are proud that we were able to bring together so many parts. Logistically, there were many components that needed to be brought together to make a final product, the mechanical machine, the programs necessary to trigger the sensors, and the installation and design of the wiring.
What We Learned
We learned about connecting arduino serial with other programs, design and assembly, and a lot about the Reagan administration!
What's next for ReaganBallZ?
In the future it would be nice to expand on the aesthetic aspect of the design and to create a more cohesive visual theme throughout. Additionally, we would like to add moreobstacles and expand on other events from the Reagan Administration Era.
Source Code is provided here: https://github.com/dustinroepsch/pinball_controller