I’ve known Jestin @digitaljestin for over a year now when I met him at a Kansas City Linux User Group meeting. He was showing off a Wiimote and the Linux Wii library he was working on. I invited Jestin to speak at our Kansas City Robotics Society (KCRS) meeting and demonstrate his work. Since then we both learned about the Cowtown Computer Congress Kansas City (CCCKC) as it was forming and joined up around August 2008.
The WiiFit controlled Labyrinth game was his idea, he thought it would be cool for parties that CCCKC was planning. When he posted asking for help I thought it sounded like a good idea too. I like to find inexpensive and easy to build projects encouraging kids to get involved with robotics.
This is a great project for anyone wanting to start learning about robotics. Currently the game is using two servos and an Arduino to turn the knobs that move the game surface. I bought my Labyrinth game at a Tuesday Morning store for less than $10. The servos were about $10 each and my Arduino cost around $30. I often use the AdaFruit BoArduinos in the robotics workshops I teach which cost $17.50 so that could reduce the overall cost to build this project. A total cost for this project should be around $60 or less assuming you already have a computer and a WiiFit or Xbox360 controller. I programmed my version to use the Xbox360 game controller as another option and already had the parts laying around the house so I only needed to buy the board game.
A world of possibilities are out there to expand this project even further. I would like to build another Labyrinth game platform using stepper motors instead of servos. After we had the game working I began thinking about what it would be like to attach an accelerometer to the bottom of the board to detect motion of the playing surface. I began thinking about motion detection through a webcam and how cool it would be to get a computer to play the game for us. I started looking at some computer vision options so now we’ve started up the CCCKC OpenCV Study Group.
We met with the Director of Science City and talked about our robotic labyrinth. He likes the idea of putting one in the interactive museum and wants to scale it up to 12 feet. Check out our new project on the Giant Robotic Labyrinth for Kansas City’s Science City.
Since debuting at the CCCKC weekly meeting several videos have been spreading around the Internet.
You can check out more on the project at Jestin’s blog and by watching the CCCKC web site.