Connect Four Player Specs

Connect Four Player

Build a mechatronic device capable of playing a game of Connect4.

General Project Requirements

The device must be portable and should fit inside the area depicted in Figure 1 below. The maximum height allowable is 36”.

You may use wall power but must use a dedicated supply (such as a PC power supply) for the final product. Battery-operated devices are a possibility for greater mobility. You may not rely upon the laboratory bench power supplies to run your device.

A guideline reimbursable range for the total parts and materials cost purchased by the team is $250-$350; however, each team will create a proposed budget and negotiate a final reimbursable project cost with the instructors. NO SALES TAXES will be reimbursed. At the end of the semester, the instructors keep all parts supplied or reimbursed. These will be available for students in succeeding years.

Construction and Aesthetics
The device must be robustly constructed with nuts and bolts, machine screws, cable ties, proper soldering, etc. No prototype kits or toys may be used. Appearance matters. “Rats‟ nest” wiring, duct tape, bubble gum, or otherwise rickety-looking devices are discouraged not only for lack of aesthetics, but also because they tend to be less robust.

The mechanism may not damage anything with which it interacts (the Connect4 board and the opponents‟ machines).

Specific Project Requirements
·         The mechanism must be able to insert game chips into all of the slots in the Connect4 board.
·         The mechanism must take no more than 20 seconds per move.
·         The mechanism must retract from the neutral area between turns.
·         The mechanism must display game playing intelligence.
·         The mechanism must transmit game state to the opposing player using the given RS232 protocol.
o   Baud rate of 9600
o   No parity
o   8 bits per message
o   2 stop bits
o   No flow control
·         You should supply tx/rx/gnd 0-5v signals. (Not DB9 24V signals)
·         You will receive exactly 21 same-color chips in an open-top container.
·         Chip Input
o   The chips may be dumped into the mechanism without being touched.
o   The chips may be stacked on the playing surface outside the mechanism, taking no more than 30 seconds.
·         The mechanism will be allowed one minute to prepare for game play, commencing at the end of chip input.
·         Performance metrics
o   Chip placement accuracy
§  Place exactly 1 chip
§  Successfully placed in slot
o   End of turn message correctly sent
§  Correct time
§  Correct message
o   Speed
§  Mechanism met “no more than 20 seconds per move” requirement.
§  Measured from receipt of game state to transmission of game state.
·         Popout specific regulations
o   You have an unlimited number of chips.
§  21 placed in hopper initially, others placed in hopper as needed.
o   You may only pop chips of your own color.
o   Game limit of 42 turns per side until declared a draw.