It's alive!18 Feb 2019
I have taken the first steps toward building a Table Soccer Robot: setting up the blog! I believe it is important to document the steps taken, for my own sake1, and with a blog, others are able to follow the progress as well.
The aim of my project is to build a Table Soccer Robot for a mini-table soccer that can play well enough to win against my kids. This is maybe not an impressive feat, since my kids are only 4 and 6 years old, but it includes many interesting aspects like object detection, motor control and strategies for playing the game.
The idea for the project started at my workplace, where the lunchbreak is usually spent in front of our (full-size!) table soccer. We had an internal tournament coming up and we started discussing the possibility to track the ball using a webcam and a laptop to help us keep track of scoring. We very quickly figured out how to place a webcam above the table and I did some rudimentary tracking of the ball using the Python OpenCV library. It worked (… kind of), but was very sensitive to the color of the ball and to light.
I figured this was a perfect opportunity to test out YOLO, a system for object detection with great performance. However, as a side-project and with the table only available at the office, it was hard to keep up the pace.
Therefore, I have bought a mini-table soccer, which fits right on my desk, and as an added value, my kids enjoy playing it (and are actually not as bad as I had thought).
I can’t wait to get started!
The time I have available for this project will vary greatly, so having a step-by-step documentation will help me when getting back to the project after some time. ↩