Wouldn't it be fun it trying to hit the pinata with a bat was an even bigger challenge? We present the solution to all of your pinata problems! Inspired by the fact that next week is our group member's birthday, we thought this would be a fun addition to any party.
What it does
The system detects the individual in real time, predicts where they are going to swing and moves the pinata out of the way just in the nick of time.
How I built it
The prediction is done with a metric ton of image detection and tracking algorithms that all combine together to give a fairly reliable estimate of the user's movements in real time. The pinata movement is done using two superpowered stepper motors and an arduino that tells the steppers where to go. The whole system has its own scaffolding and its own power supply.
Challenges I ran into
So getting the computer vision system to run in real time is really hard. Especially when it needs to be very accurate. Also, getting stepper motors to turn as fast as we need them to reliably when under a lot of force is also pretty difficult, especially when we needed to build our own motor mounts.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
It actually all works fast enough to avoid swings
What I learned
Motors are really hard to work with
What's next for Unhitable Pinata
See if we can get a few more motors and increase the range of motion of the system.