Team J: SmackTalk

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Main Design Concept

The basic playing design of the system is straightforward. A loader subsystem will process one chip and deposit it in the playing arm, which will carry the chip to the desired column on the board on a single degree of freedom. 

Loading State

Dispensing State



Exploded view
Top view of loader

The loader is inspired by a coin sorting device, two layers with cutouts large enough for only one chip are stacked on each other. One layer is stationary, and the other is rotated on top of it. One chip can move on the top layer and is blocked from dropping by the stationary layer until the two cutouts are aligned. The chip will then drop into a third layer that will push the chip out of the hopper to the playing arm by a ramp. This ramp has a sensor that allows the processor to know when a chip has passed through the hopper and is in the playing arm. This sensing is achieved by a hinge that forms a “door” for the chip to pass through. When the door is moved up because of the chip, a thin sliver of metal triggers an OMRON IR sensor.

Playing Arm

Exploded view
Pinning servo

The playing arm consists of a moving arm, and a stationary support arm. The moving arm takes the chip from the hopper, and holds it in place with a servo-driven arm. At the beginning of the turn, the servo pins the chip to prevent it from falling out, and rises before moving over the board into the neutral zone.  The rising motion is achieved by another servo, which also moves the pop-out subsystem out into position by means of a rack and pinion.


Exploded view

View of motion system

The lateral motion is accomplished by a coarse ball screw and stabilized by two drawer rails, driven by a large motor. Its position is tracked by an encoder strip and another OMRON IR sensor. A brace is bolted to the baseplate to avoid collision and possible damage to the loader. The ball screw is also on one end, preventing any binding issues. However, the screw is then very loose when the playing arm subsystem is moved to the other end of the ball screw, so another brace is attached to the coupler to hold the screw in place and to prevent the free end from wandering.

Final Build

Here is a shot of the final build of the robot. The speaker that is sitting on top of the power supply supplies the "smack talking" aspect of our robot by playing disparaging movie quotes after each turn. Below is the video of it in action.


From left to right: William Young, Andres Rodriguez, and Nicholas Arthur

William Young
BSME, MPD 2011
Responsibilities included building the hopper subsystem and assisting with the robot build.

Andres Rodriguez
BSME, MPD 2011
Responsibilities included 3D CAD modeling and building the base and arm subsystems. 

Nicholas Arthur
ECE 2011
Responsibilities included electronics, coding, and robot AI.

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