This Robotic Cornhole Board Compensates for Your Terrible Throws

YouTuber Michael Rechtin has built an auto-adjusting cornhole board that'll make sure you never miss!

Cameron Coward
3 months agoRobotics / Gaming / Holidays

It is summer in the time of COVID, and that means you’re probably trying to find ways to enjoy the sunshine without exposing yourself to unnecessary risk. Lawn games with your family are the perfect way to do that. Cornhole, which you may call “baggo” or “sack toss” if you live in an unimaginative part of the United States, is the perfect summertime lawn game, but it can also be quite difficult to actually throw those bean bags through the board’s distressingly small hole. That’s why Michael Rechtin built a robotic cornhole board that can compensate for your terrible throws.

This robotic cornhole board works like magic; all you have to do is throw your bean bag in the general vicinity of the board’s hole and the entire top surface of the board will move to allow the bean bag to sail perfectly through the hole. It’s a bit like tossing a marshmallow into the mouth of a friend who is desperately trying to catch it. It may not adhere to the regulations set by the American Cornhole Association (a completely real organization), but it sure is entertaining to watch in action. It should also help you avoid embarrassment this 4th of July after you’ve had a few too many crispy boys.

The hardware Rechtin developed for this project does two important things: determines where the bean bag is likely to land and then adjusts itself to line up the hole with that trajectory. A webcam is attached to the cornhole board and points towards the sky. That connects to a laptop that is running a Processing sketch to monitor the video feed. When it detects a bean bag, it calculates the position and direction of travel. That information is then sent to an Arduino Uno board and used to control the geared DC motors via standard motor drivers. Each motor also has a rotary encoder for closed-loop feedback. The top plywood surface is mounted on drawer slides, which lets it move smoothly. It’s not perfect, because it only sees the bean bag in two dimensions. But it does work well enough to improve your scores against your family this summer.

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