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If you’d like to bring the air hockey arcade experience home with you, then look no further than this project by Kousheek Chakraborty and Satya Schiavina, or ‘Technovation.’ 

Cleverly, the scaled-down game table uses a household vacuum cleaner blower attachment to provide air pressure, sending little jets of air through a grid of laser-cut holes on the acrylic playing surface.

LED lights embedded in the sides add a bit more excitement to the build, and points are tallied with an Arduino Uno-based LCD score display. A pair of buttons are used to register a points for either player, hopefully eliminating arguments over who is ahead as the game progresses!

Many of us have considered buying an air hockey table, but are put off by the price. And even if the money is there, those things take up a lot of space. How often are you really going to use it?

This DIY air hockey table is the answer. It’s big enough to be fun, but small and light enough to easily stow away in the off-season. At ~$50, it’s a cheap build, provided you have a vacuum cleaner that can switch to blower mode. The strikers, goals, corner guards, and scoreboard enclosure are all 3D-printed, while the pucks and playfield are laser-cut acrylic. [Technovation] glued acrylic feet to the strikers to help them last longer.

The scoreboard is an Arduino Uno plus an LCD that changes color to match the current winner. Scoring must be entered manually with button presses, but we think it would be fairly easy to detect a puck in the goal with a force or weight sensor or something. For now, the RGB LEDs around the edge are controlled separately with a remote. The ultimate goal is to make the Arduino do it. Shoot past the break and cross-check it out.

Already have a table? Had it so long, no one will play you anymore? Build yourself a robotic opponent.

Air hockey is a classic arcade game consisting of two players, two paddles, a puck, and a low-friction table. But what happens if you don’t have an opponent? If you’re Jose Julio, you build a robotic one out of 3D printer parts.

An updated version of his earlier design from 2014, Julio upgraded the Air Hockey Robot’s original camera and vision system to a smartphone for its eyes and brain. Other components include an Arduino, an ESP8266-based shield, NEMA 17 stepper motors, stepper motor drivers, as well as some belts, bearings, rods, and a few more 3D-printed pieces.

As you can see in Julio’s video below, the robot moves along two different axes with a paddle to cover its half of the table. An Android phone running the Air Hockey Robot EVO app monitors the playing surface, and makes real-time decisions by tracking the puck’s location and predicting its trajectories. It even comes complete with sound effects!

The smartphone’s camera is looking at the playing court. The camera’s captured data is processed in real-time by the smartphone. Detecting the position of the puck and the “pusher robot” (and according to the current location of all the elements on the court), your smartphone makes decisions and commands the robot what to do via Wi-Fi.

Your smartphone will become an augmented reality device, showing predicted trajectories and position of all the objects involved in this game.

Want your own? Julio has made both the instructions and code available to everyone.

(Nice find, Hackaday!)



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