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21st century Rock-em Sock-em

Raise your hand if you remember the Rock-em Sock-em boxing game.  Extra credit if you still have one.  Two Texas Instruments co-ops have brought this game (first introduced in 1967) into the 21st century, complete with wireless remote control via a watch that is cooler than anything Dick Tracy could have dreamed of.

Texas Instruments has a yearly contest called the co-op challenge.  2010 co-ops Zachery Shivers and Anne Flinchbaugh got inspiration from a co-worker who had the old fashioned version of the game on his desk.  Their project updates this game with servos, wireless RF communications, and 4 TI Chronos watches.

The Chronos watch alone is a great gadget that contains  a 96 segment LCD display, a pressure sensor, temperature sensor, 3 axis accelerometer, USB port for programming and debugging, and an RF hub.  The watch can wirelessly interface to other personal network devices like heart rate monitors or pedometers, logging their data, or to anything else with a TI RF transceiver.  The watch can be reprogrammed with new firmware by the user, which is exactly what Shivers and Flinchbaugh did.

Playing the game requires 4 Chronos watches, with each player wearing one watch on each wrist. The accelerometer in each watch detects punching motions, used to control the arms of the robots, and moving the hands in unison, which controls the position of the robot.  The watches transmit the motion information to an RF microcontroller evaluation board located in the base of the game, which in turn actuates the robots via 8 servos.  Each robot has 2 servos for X/Y control, and 2 servos to control the arms.

The project also includes an audio amplifier, SDcard, and an LCD connector, although the implementation of those functions has apparently been left to the 2011 TI co-op challenge.

The TI co-op challenge wiki page has links to other co-op projects like a golf swing analyzer, home automation interface, web based 2 player tennis game, and of course the obligatory high-5 detector.  Take a look.

Steve Ravet

Design News Gadgeteer

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