Preferring his tennis games to be of the table-top variety, Dimitri didn't like to repeatedly bend down and pick up balls. It slowed down his play and created wear-and-tear on his back. So he built a microcontroller-based, automatic ball dispenser. A player simply pushes a switch on the four-ball device, releasing one ball at a time. Using an infrared optical detector, the system automatically counts down the ball inventory, updating and displaying the number remaining. When the last ball is released, a buzzer sounds, notifying players to replenish.
For Dimitri Merrill's complete instructions on how to build your own automatic ping pong ball dispenser, click here.
Automatic Ping Pong Ball Dispenser Parts List
Allied Part #
H-bridge, 3A, 55V
12V, .42A dc power supply
10 nF capacitor
330 Ù resistor
Normally open button
1,000 microF capacitor
Additional parts required: 1 Xilinx Spartan-3 Starter Kit (Xilinx part number DO-SPAR3-DK)
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.