Air hockey is a classic arcade game consisting of two players, two paddles, a puck, and a low-friction table. But what happens if you don’t have an opponent? If you’re Jose Julio, you build a robotic one out of 3D printer parts.
An updated version of his earlier design from 2014, Julio upgraded the Air Hockey Robot’s original camera and vision system to a smartphone for its eyes and brain. Other components include an Arduino, an ESP8266-based shield, NEMA 17 stepper motors, stepper motor drivers, as well as some belts, bearings, rods, and a few more 3D-printed pieces.
As you can see in Julio’s video below, the robot moves along two different axes with a paddle to cover its half of the table. An Android phone running the Air Hockey Robot EVO app monitors the playing surface, and makes real-time decisions by tracking the puck’s location and predicting its trajectories. It even comes complete with sound effects!
The smartphone’s camera is looking at the playing court. The camera’s captured data is processed in real-time by the smartphone. Detecting the position of the puck and the “pusher robot” (and according to the current location of all the elements on the court), your smartphone makes decisions and commands the robot what to do via Wi-Fi.
Your smartphone will become an augmented reality device, showing predicted trajectories and position of all the objects involved in this game.
(Nice find, Hackaday!)