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 Ŕ resistor
Normally open button
1,000 microF capacitor
Additional parts required: 1 Xilinx Spartan-3 Starter Kit (Xilinx part number DO-SPAR3-DK)
Applied Research Associates has delivered several of its Pointman Tactical Robots to the CBP in Tucson, which the agency is using to explore drainage tunnels that run between Nogales, Ariz., and Nogales, Mexico. These tunnels are out of sight from border surveillance and are increasingly being used for illegal activity.