The idea has become muddled in recent years, but the true purpose of a robot is to do the work that we humans don’t want to do ourselves. The first robots that were built for practical work were designed to operate in the dirty, miserable factories that people generally want to avoid. Over the years, robots have replaced more and more undesirable jobs, but one still remains: golf ball gatherer. Redditor Webzuweb’s robot was created to finally address that human rights travesty.
At driving ranges all around the world, lowly workers are forced to venture out into no-man’s land to collect golf balls. Their only protection from the constant barrage of incoming balls is a caged golf cart. It’s a terrible job, and this DIY robot will hopefully make it a thing of the past. The robot is kind of like a giant Roomba that scuttles around the driving range scooping up golf balls, blissfully unaware of the golfers who are trying to kill it with Titleists.
The robot’s body and golf ball-grabbing mechanism were constructed from plywood, which was chosen for its low cost and durability. It’s controlled with an Orange Pi Lite paired with an Arduino Nano. Its host of sensors include a 3-axis gyroscope and accelerometer, two ultrasonic modules, and a GPS module. In addition to the Orange Pi Lite’s on-board WiFi, Webzuweb has included a Bluetooth HC-06 module for communication. The robot can autonomously navigate a driving range and collect balls until it’s full or the battery gets low, at which point it can use GPS to navigate back to base. But, more importantly, it could save the lives of countless human golf ball collectors.