The main project goal was to complete a working prototype for an Autonomous Foosball Table (AFT), where a human player faces a robotic opponent. From the human perspective of the game, the foosball table is very similar to a regular table. The player(s) on the human side are controlled via a series of four handles that can be moved in and out and rotated to move the players linearly across the playing field and to kick the ball towards the opponent's goal. The autonomous side consists of:
> Eight servo motors used to manipulate the handles of the foosball table
> A microcontroller to activate the servo motors and communicate with the computer
> An over-head mounted webcam to track the ball and players
> A computer to process the webcam images, implement artificial intelligence, and communicate with the microcontroller
Budget constraints for the prototype slowed the project some and kept its functionality to a minimum. Proper motors to move the players at a competitive speed were found to be very expensive, so lower-end servos had to be used.
While this particular implementation was limited by cost and time, a larger gear ratio would yield a faster playing robot, although doing so would cost more than the $500 base price (price without power supply & computer).