Robots aren’t taking over the world just yet, but they did begin taking over our shuffleboard tables last week, when a group of Oregon State University students showcased some shuffleboard playing robots at a technology exhibition in the USA.
The team of 36 students from university’s electrical engineering, computer engineering, mechanical engineering and computer science departments unleashed their robots in the atrium of the schools Kelley Engineering Center. The demonstration was in the form of a tournament. The tables were modified to fit the challenge. The students, in groups of three or four, were tasked with making a S.H.U.F.F.L.E.B.O.T that was capable of shuffling the puck and moving it as close as possible to the scoring zone in the center of the table. The modified scoring zones had 4, 3, 2 and 1 scoring sections based around a circle target.
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Mechanical engineering student Tim Tunnermann told the Corvallis Gazette-Times that he and his and his teammates Levi Carey and Dane Eastlick – who called their team the ‘Pluck Flingers’ – spent a combined total of around 200 hours working on their robot.
Tunnermann said the design and construction took eight weeks, while a further two weeks was spent on the finishing touches. The team used an air compressor to construct its robotic arm. – but as he pointed out there were advantages to using a robot to play the game.
“Unless you’re an experienced player, it’s tough to get the puck in the same place every time,” Tunnermann said. “No problem, if you’re a robot.”