It's alive!

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.

Mini-table soccer

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!

  1. 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.