Teer Pong

Teer Pong

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Motivation

{To design, build, and test three electronic autonomous SportBot machines that play some sport together by passing a ping pong ball, and each individually performing at least 2 "tricks"}

Story

At the beginning of the design process, my team and I created a list of possible sports that the machines could play. We then decided on a sport the robots would perform: Teer Pong , a variation of the popular college drinking game beer pong, named after one of the main Mechanical Engineering buildings on Duke's campus. After creating a list of appropriate actions the robots could perform related to the chosen sport, we used a value matrix to conclude which would be the best for the robots to perform. I helped delineate a Performance Storyboard that highlights and summarizes how the SportBots are intended to perform together. I would say that the most challenging part of the design and build process was creating the electronic circuits. Though we started off with some complex ideas on how to achieve a certain robotic action, we were able to simplify the circuitry to achieve the same result. After creating the circuit board, I helped design and build the mechanics and structure of the robots, always keeping in mind the interaction between the machines. Finally, the group successfully tested the three SportBots in a fantastic display of ingenuity and engineering. Check out the videos below!

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Local Impact

Rather than taking the traditional approach of moving the ball from one robot to the next along a pre-defined path, my team and I wanted to take a riskier approach: to have the robot throw the ball. Though this made the project significantly more challenging, it was an exciting learning experience to build and to watch the end result.

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Global Impact

Design risk is crucial to innovation. Risk is also uncomfortable. With onset of global digitalization, our biggest competitors have become companies in entirely different industries who are quicker and better at innovation because they are agile and able to take design risk. I incorporate this knowledge in all projects and challenges that I work on.

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What this project means to me

This was the product of one of the first, and my favorite, engineering classes I took at Duke (Engineering Innovations)- before we had any formal training on complex electromechanical systems. This forced me to find simple and elegant solutions to tackle problems, rather than to overdesign.