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Robotic Pool Table

Play it again and again
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(+31)
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A pool table that can automatically reset the position of the balls to any previously played position, with pinpoint accuracy, thereby allowing you to exactly replay a game from any point whether it just be back to the last shot or back 20 shots.

Using a combination of a ceiling mounted robot (similar to the type used in factories to pickup and stack things like biscuits or other foodstuffs), a computer vision system to track the exact position on the table of the balls.

This table would not only allow you to practice shots knowing that the balls are always exactly where they were for the first shot, but would let you step back a few shots to see if a different shot/ball selection would have resulted in a better result.

By combining 2 such tables in different locations you could play a match against someone many miles away. After each shot the un-played table would rearrange the balls to match the table on which the shot was actually played and vice versa.

It might even be possible to download ball positions from professional matches and recreate any point in the match to see if you could clear up from that point.

And there you have my first ever half-baked idea.

seanchk, Apr 16 2010

If it can pick up biscuits, balls should be no problem http://www.ferret.c...icker-robot-n665861
Ball picker [seanchk, Apr 16 2010]

Deep Green http://rcvlab.ece.q...DeepGreen/main.html
[Dub, Apr 16 2010]

http://www.instruct...tomated-Pool-Table/ like this? [xenzag, Apr 17 2010]

Silent Running's Future Pool http://monsterhunte...o.com/Monster2.html
(Second picture, halfway down article) [Dub, Apr 18 2010]

[link]






       <metacomment> [anno-marked-for- subsequent- updating]   

       Let the record show that this idea acheived +6 buns before anyone commented on it, and it is a first posting.   

       Further, 17 buns, no fishbones.   

       </metacomment>
8th of 7, Apr 16 2010
  

       Nice. Deserves one of [krelnik's] WTAGIPBAN tags, even though he's not here.
RayfordSteele, Apr 16 2010
  

       Welcome to the HB. Rack 'em.
swimswim, Apr 16 2010
  

       Brilliant idea!   

       Any gut feelings on the choice of ball manipulation? Mechanical (less aesthetically pleasing) or a secret magnet in the balls and a magnetic 'plotter' under the table (may eb tricky if multiple balls together)?
Skrewloose, Apr 16 2010
  

       I think Bender dressed in a tux would do the job nicely, both mechanically and aesthetically.
wagster, Apr 16 2010
  

       I love the idea of playing pool remotely with a friend.
phundug, Apr 16 2010
  

       I have gut feelings regarding ball manipulation, but this crowd is a little too sensitive for that. I'm all for the Bender idea as a substitute.
normzone, Apr 16 2010
  

       For a first idea (and even for a second or third), this is excellent. [+]
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 16 2010
  

       // gut feelings regarding ball manipulation //   

       What you do in the privacy of your own (or someone else's) home should not necessarily be aired in this forum.   

       Unless, of course, it's sick, evil, deviant, perverted, salacious, and deeply wrong and disturbing, in which case, carry on (with illustrations if possible).
8th of 7, Apr 16 2010
  

       8th I can be evil, deviant, perverted, salacious, and deeply wrong with the best of them, however I figured my first attempt at bakery should avoid custard, jam and small furry animals.
seanchk, Apr 16 2010
  

       // avoid ... small furry animals. //   

       Eh ?   

       Post an idea involving kittens and steamrollers. We guarantee you a bun.
8th of 7, Apr 16 2010
  

       I'd just like to add a major thanks to you all for the great welcome. My next HB idea involves beans.
seanchk, Apr 16 2010
  

       You'll get more mileage from cats, hammers, custard, pirates and steamrollers.   

       Beans are just, well, vegetables ?   

       (Like most of the rest of the HB residents)
8th of 7, Apr 16 2010
  

       You could also, probably, have such a system set up challenging situations from pool tournaments or projectile puzzles that other people have composed. [+]
Aristotle, Apr 16 2010
  

       This is a great idea. But, in my opinion, this function would be better used on a chessboard.
DrWorm, Apr 16 2010
  

       But, but, but the balls wouldn't fit, and there are no pockets.
8th of 7, Apr 16 2010
  

       Welcome, [seanchk]   

       WTCTTISITMWIBNIIWR?   

       I'm pretty certain there's a scene in the movie "Silent Running" which shows one of these. (I can remember small solenoid "cues" setting up the balls on the table)   

       [linky], but not to the film I was thinking of
Dub, Apr 16 2010
  

       Pull up a chair, [seanchk]. [+]
pertinax, Apr 17 2010
  

       //Silent Running// - I have that on my laptop. And given that I shall be spending the next twelve hours of my Saturday sitting in this control room with nothing to do except watch the Labour conference, I might just have to watch it.
wagster, Apr 17 2010
  

       Silent Running - Too sad for me to watch right now. If you get a chance watch Darkstar (Comedy version of Alien), Spaceship (with Patrick McNee),
Dub, Apr 17 2010
  

       I have Darkstar here too - great film. Never seen Spaceship though - might have to get that.
wagster, Apr 17 2010
  

       Quite rare. Sort of Alien meets Airplane, only less cerebral. It had a cult following (4-5 members) when I was in college.
1983, aka The Creature Wasn't Nice / Naked Space. The Alien's method of communication's superb.
Dub, Apr 17 2010
  

       Silent Running... excellent choice. There is some film which features an auto-playing pool table. Not sure if it is Silent Running though.
xenzag, Apr 17 2010
  

       Ahem [linky]
Dub, Apr 18 2010
  

       Love it. (+)   

       Wot, involving scutters?
Dub, Apr 18 2010
  

       Ah, of course. {Puts his hat on backwards} How could I forget?
Dub, Apr 18 2010
  

       The usual method is by a combination of joining the French Foreign Legion and excessive alcohol consumption.
8th of 7, Apr 19 2010
  

       (+) I may build this. I love the idea of playing someone else remotely. With scaling, I could play on my 9' table against someone else on a 8' table.   

       Suction seems like the best idea for lifting the balls. Exact placement is either thru hardware (an X-Y table) or triangulation. I'd favor the later as it would look better. Probably drop a small suction cup on three wires with a spinning sensor that would detect different IR beacons from transmitters in the corners.
MisterQED, Apr 19 2010
  

       I love this idea and I propose a different version. A computer with a camera and a laser pointer should be able to project points on the cloth where the balls should go. You could then place the balls manually. A marker can be used to place the ball pretty accurately. Now all you need is a camera, a laptop, the laserthing and an internet connection and you can play anyone anywhere. This will have a dedicated website and people can also place bets with paypall. Pretty soon this will be available as an app on your phone. Just thinking how to make this cheap and widely available.
zeno, Apr 20 2010
  

       Nice, [zeno], but wouldn't you get a parallax effect that would skew the ball positions since you can't place the ball on a dot projected at an angle. I think you could project circles of appropriate size and then check that the balls are inside the circle. Or compute the contact spot and then project a cross-hair for placement.
MisterQED, Apr 20 2010
  

       Yes, I thought of that. You can place a marker like the ones the snooker referees use (modified slightly) and then put the ball in place.
zeno, Apr 21 2010
  

       Very cool. +
nomocrow, Apr 23 2010
  

       [zeno], [21Q], if the laer designator is positioned centrally above the table - a small device like a laser "crab" used in a disco - then it could project a computer-cotrolled cone of laser light onto the surface. This would actually become an ellipse as the poit of aim moved futher from the exact centre, but the algebra of conic secions is well understood; the player places the ball so that it masks no part of the projected ellipse, and thus is "centred".
8th of 7, Apr 23 2010
  
      
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