It’s one thing to be a hit at parties, it’s another to build one! Today we’ve got a crazy fun project to share put together by Niklas Bommersbach. Using our favorite SBC, the Raspberry Pi, he’s created a beer pong robot that can not only play beer pong but also tends to come out on top with plenty of winning throws to back up its track record. Even when testing against some of the most skilled humans, it’s managed to stand its ground as a worthy opponent.
The main mechanism behind the robot is a giant arm that rotates around to throw ping pong balls. The speed is carefully calculated to land the ball at a predetermined location with a certain trajectory. The project started as a device that could hit targets using the ping pong balls. With a little bit of tweaking, Bommersbach modified the machine to serve as a beer pong opponent.
The Raspberry Pi is responsible for accepting user input and running calculations for the throws. It determines the trajectory details necessary to successfully land a throw and sends the details needed for the stepper motors to an Arduino. The Arduino is primarily used for driving the motors.
The frame for machine is made using extruded metal bars. Bommersbach constructed them to form both the base and rotating arm. Mounting components were 3D-printed to attach the various electronic components including SBCs and motors. Everything is held together using screws.
The Pi calculates the throws based on data input by the user. It’s programmed to assume a standard triangular cup formation. The distance from the front cup is entered into the Pi, this is used to determine the location of the surrounding cups. No visual recognition is used in the project but it would be possible to implement this in the future with a camera module and training it with the right model.
If you want to see this Raspberry Pi project in action, which we highly recommend for some impressive entertainment, you can find the video shared by Bommersbach over at YouTube in which he also provides a detailed breakdown of its construction.