Instructables

Scholarship contest idea: tennis bot

Tennis-bot serves to collect the dozens of tennis balls scattered on the court during a lesson. Using shape recognition, the robot continuously collects balls from the court and returns them to a hopper device. The tennis instructor retrieves balls from the top half of the hopper manually; the bottom half serves as a docking, recharging, and storage area for the robot. The robot's actions allow for a more continuous and productive lesson. Balls on the court are sensed by shape and color recognition cameras on the bot and are then collected with velcro hook pads. To ensure only the tennis balls belonging to the bot's owner are collected, some sort of marking may be applied to the balls. A small storage area on top of the tennis-bot holds the balls temporarily until the robot returns to the main hopper and deposits them there. The bot may also incorporate a shooting device to return balls to players. During a lesson, most tennis balls are hit behind the instructor and end up between the base line and the fence. With a line recognition camera, tennis-bot will be able to limit its search to this area. To help the robot keep track of the its position and to aid more efficient ball retrieval, an internal map system will be used.

Picture of Scholarship contest idea: tennis bot
aarone7 years ago
I personally think you should leave the ball shooting to a ball shooter. The robot, in my opinion would best be left to pickup balls. My reasoning is that there would be slow downs in actual activity. The robot needs to shoot balls, then the robot needs to stop while it picks up the balls, and the player has no balls to hit. The best method I see is that the robot carry a basket which is can empty balls into the hopper as it fills up. That's just my opinion though. I don't know much about it.
trialex7 years ago
I think you have got one goot advantage over other proposals which discuss outdoor use - the tennis court will be a lot more friendly surface to travel over for the robot. Do you need the line recognition? I haven't looked at all the rules of the contest because it's USA and Canada only, so I'm not sure if the create module retains the virtual wall function of the commercial roombas, but if it does, just use that to reduce complexity.
StepsoftheSun (author)  trialex7 years ago
That was one of the reasons we wanted to do the tennis bot. Frisbee was originally proposed but a paved surface is far simpler to deal with. Using the virtual wall is a good idea. I'm torn between saying that having to set that up is too much work for the user (all they should have to do is wheel out the hopper with the bot tucked underneath). But it would make that part simpler. It'll have to be mulled over some more but thanks for the idea!
I'm not a tennis player but I saw a game on TV once... You could use the white line recognition as the boundary and it could follow the fence except the entry would need a line, step, 2-3" fence or something. Maybe set up the gizmo next to the entrance and pull out a fence/wall like a metal tape measure. Only needs to be 3-4 feet long. Hook it onto the chain link fence with an "S" hook.
NachoMahma7 years ago
. Do you really need ball recognition? What else is on the court (except the players)?
I think Ball Recognition might be valuable just because you can be more efficient than a simple back and forth routine. Also, it's cooler! Shape recognition is probably more difficult than color recognition, especially because the tech is already around and easy to implement

Take a look at this.
StepsoftheSun (author)  aarone7 years ago
Haha, cool factor is absolutely a reason ball recognition should be employed! If it's effective and quick enough, a more advanced version might be able to act as ball boys/girls during matches. You know, when you can't find children to do the work for you. Thanks for that link!
. OIC.