This peculiar robot will allow you to play pool like an expert
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YouTuber Shane Wighton is known for his channel, Stuff Made Here where he applies his incredible engineering skills to create several innovative inventions.
Among them, those related to sports stand out, for example, a very powerful baseball bat or a golf club with automatic adjustment. Now, his latest innovation has to do with billiards.
The engineer has presented a table and a cue related to this sport with which even those who least expect it will be able to succeed.
Wighton has improved the cue by cutting off the end and replacing it with a miniaturized Stewart platform: a mechanism that uses six movable arms to adjust the angle in 3 dimensions, as he collects Gizmodo.
Normally these are based on hydraulic pistons, but to make it smaller, the YouTuber instead uses moving links controlled by tension cables that run the entire length of the cue. To transfer power to the cue ball he has added a pneumatic piston to the tip with a pressurization chamber at the other end to vary the power of the shot.
However, despite the implemented upgrades, making it work was still a long way off. The upgraded pool cue was smarter than the usual ones, but, still, it had no idea what was happening on the pool table.
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Wighton wanted this trick to be as foolproof as possible, so he mounted a video camera on the ceiling facing the pool table that could recognize the location of all the balls, as well as the cue stick and where it was pointing.
The engineer combined this feature with custom code, as well as tools that would remove the distortions added by the camera lens, allowing the system to automatically calculate the angle and power needed to make a shot.
All that remained for this innovative invention to be useful was for the player to aim the cue correctly, so Wighton decided to mount a video projector next to the camera on the ceiling that would overlay the pool table surface with alignment guides and predicted trajectories.
Eventually, the robot became a surprisingly good pool player.
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