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Sink Your Balls Quickly With Pool-Cue Robots

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the hungry-hungry-hippo-for-barflies dept.

Robotics 79

AndreV writes "In another attempt to dehumanize our bar games, a Canadian engineer has turned the classic game of billiards on its head with his BilliardBots pet project, which consists of a series of remote-controlled mobile robots meant to replace the standard cue sticks normally used to pocket pool balls. While in his version the basic rules remain, unlike regular billiards, players in this version simultaneously rush to pocket their designated balls (they don't take turns), 'thus it's very competitive and fast,' the creator says. In order to keep tight reins on the mechatronic ball handlers' movements, he adapted a pair of Playstation controllers and says that playing 'requires dexterity, like a video game,' to control their 3.5-m/sec-maximum speeds. The 'bots are designed simply but effectively, using a 3-by-3-by-3-inch metal frame with an electronic board, two motors and rechargeable battery packs. Using a Bluetooth wireless communication protocol, its commands come from the wireless controller with single or double joystick selectable control (the other buttons are not used). Its other parameters are software programmable, such as maximum acceleration rate, maximum speed and maximum rotation speed."

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79 comments

Rather Not (5, Funny)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 4 years ago | (#27668401)

If you don't mind, I'd rather not sink my balls as they've keep me in good stead for 50 years now.
I would prefer that they were not torpedoed by some cue-stick armed robot.
My wife concurs and she is bi-polar, going through a nasty bout of menopause and has access to the shotgun.
Forewarned you overlords of metal.

Re:Rather Not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27668889)

I'd rather not sink my balls as they've keep me in good stead for 50 years now.

Arrggg!!!! The mental picture..... it burns!!!!!

Re:Rather Not (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27672481)

The goggles i imagined! they do nothing!

Scary title (5, Funny)

ender06 (913978) | more than 4 years ago | (#27668403)

I read that as "Skin your balls quickly with pool-cue robots." I quickly became concerned until my brain pointed out the pool-cue part of the title.

Re:Scary title (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27668539)

I read it as "Shrink your balls"

Re:Scary title (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27670933)

Worse: I read it as two sentences. "Sink your balls quickly with pool" leading to "Cue robots!".

That was the ultimate WTF experience.

Sign me up (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 4 years ago | (#27668607)

As a roboticist, I think this is the coolest thing since rocket skates. I can't wait for this to be commercialised.

Re:Sign me up (2, Insightful)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 4 years ago | (#27669275)

As a roboticist, I think this is the coolest thing since rocket skates. I can't wait for this to be commercialised.

Real roboticists don't start sentences with "As a roboticist", and if you were a roboticist, you wouldn't care if it was commericialized, you'd just build one. Those robots are not complicated as far as robots go.
-Taylor

Re:Sign me up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27670727)

As a professer in roboticistism I must concur with Sir Taylor.

And as a geezer.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27670991)

...I would have rather balled Liz Taylor..err. a real long time ago now....

Re:Sign me up (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 4 years ago | (#27672131)

Maybe by roboticist he means someone that looks forward to Judgement Day when he will be able to sell out the rest of humanity for a fembot and a load of cool gizmos, rather than someone who is working in the field of robotics.

Re:Sign me up (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 4 years ago | (#27676003)

Why build it yourself when you can buy off the shelf? It's cheaper and quicker. I've got enough other things to build at the moment. And besides, making robots is my day job - I do other things for fun.

Re:Sign me up (1)

GradiusCVK (1017360) | more than 4 years ago | (#27669447)

I like how everything can be specified programatically without any real-world considerations; I'd love to buy a table, program the maximum speed of my robots to be c + 1, and be the first human to break light speed! I wonder how they accomplished this amazing flexibility.

Re:Sign me up (4, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#27669977)

As a roboticist...

Are those like furries?

Re:Sign me up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27671969)

Oh man, congratulations. You just made my night. +1 Funny right there :D

Who's got big balls? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27668639)

We've got big balls!

Sink or? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27668661)

I can't be the only one who first saw, "Suck", in that title?

Re:Sink or? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27673547)

"Suck Your Balls" ?? Who the f*ck are you? Ron Jeremy?

Amusing, but... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27668663)

I really don't see any value in this. Pool is a game of finesse, strategy, and ability, not brute forcing balls with robots. I don't know why you'd base it on a billiard/pool table and not something that was purpose built.

By using robots in this way you're removing what's fun about pool.

While his foosball table was cool, this is quite silly IMO.

Re:Amusing, but... (2, Insightful)

jozlod (1304051) | more than 4 years ago | (#27668995)

i would think more so that his game is not billards/pool at all, it just happens that he has decided to use a pool table and make robots that drive around on it into another game. it could actually be a fun thing to add to your pool room, kind of like how kelly pool isnt really pool, but its fun. So imo he has just found another way to use that felt covered table with holes and balls. i do however disagree with him calling it a version of billards. "unlike regular billiard matches, players in this version simultaneously rush to pocket their designated balls"

Re:Amusing, but... (2, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 4 years ago | (#27669061)

I don't know why you'd base it on a billiard/pool table and not something that was purpose built.

To save floor space and upfront costs for target customers. Flagging sales at you local poolhall/pub? Keep the pool tables for your traditional customers, but have BilliadBots tournaments on tuesdays to attract a younger clientele.

Re:Amusing, but... (1)

iacvlvs (1155873) | more than 4 years ago | (#27669489)

Flagging sales at you local poolhall/pub? Keep the pool tables for your traditional customers, but have BilliadBots tournaments on tuesdays to attract a younger clientele.

I wonder, though, how hard the BilliardBots are on the soft, smooth, delicate felt surface of a pool table.

Re:Amusing, but... (2, Insightful)

hurfy (735314) | more than 4 years ago | (#27669515)

Well, i don't know about worthless as it looks kinda fun.

But it seems to little to do with pool and/or robots for that matter.

The robot is barely an RC car, it simply bumps the ball or corrals it into the hole. There is no real aim, no cue ball used and no banking except for lucky (or unbelievably good) shots off that curved bumper.

If he wanted pool, why doesn't it have a plunger to at least shoot the ball?

I wonder how hard these are on the felt tho. If it not turnbased, then do they still have avoid the other balls,etc otherwise it would get pretty wild. If both are going for the same hole will they push and shove each other? What is that going to do for the lifespan of your felt when they have a pushing contest?

Re:Amusing, but... (1)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 4 years ago | (#27669985)

It's pointless to compare the two games. It's like saying that polo is not as much fun as soccer because the players hit the ball with a stick and they get to ride horses instead of running.

Personally, I think it's a great idea that needs marketing. Maybe add some sound and light effects and a pin-ball bumper with a laser pointer to guide it and get the shot just right.

Post a video if you find one.

You missed the memo.... (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 4 years ago | (#27669661)

Pool is a game of finesse, strategy, and ability, not brute forcing balls with robots

No, it is about 'Market Share' and 'How many eyeballs we can saturate'

You, obviously have not subscribed to the latest Big Media newsletters!

Re:Amusing, but... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#27670023)

Deep Blue vs Kasparov didn't have any practical value either. Maybe that's not the point of these things.

This is prior-art for the future (1)

SpzToid (869795) | more than 4 years ago | (#27671833)

In the future, just as we have various chess simulators now, we'll have some kind of pool-stick playing bot to match our own pool-playing skillz against, mano a mano.

Let this initial implementation serve as prior art.

Sinking Balls? Tea Bag? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27668719)

Is this related to the "Tea Bagging" parties that Americans seem to be having to protest taxes?

The title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27668765)

Its awesome

I thought the Republicans were done teabagging (0, Offtopic)

apparently (756613) | more than 4 years ago | (#27669055)

Are you telling me that they plan on sinking balls for the next eight years?

YES (1, Funny)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#27669057)

Bring me an asian chick and I will definitely sink my balls...

Re:YES (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27673903)

As a cardholding member of the Association of Angry Asian Men, I would like to remind you that you run the risk of pissing off some Asian man somewhere, and that all Asian men know kung fu. No exceptions.

Sink? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27669085)

What?! Sink my balls! Robots that use pool cues to sink my balls? In what!

why has every f***ng RC car to be called robot? (5, Insightful)

Gunstick (312804) | more than 4 years ago | (#27669091)

Remote controlled devices are now robots? Just because robot wars uses RC controlled monsters and calls them robots?
For me a robot is something where at least some intelligence is done automatically.
I can't see any robotic thing in these toys.

So yes, the military and police bomb brobots are no robots, still just remote controlled machines.
If I remote control an excavator it does not suddenly become a robot.

Re:why has every f***ng RC car to be called robot? (1)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 4 years ago | (#27670115)

Well ASEA [abb.com] says they makes robots. We should let them know they are not in fact robots. I am with you that the term robot, in my mind as well, conveys the sense of at least partial autonomy. Maybe the right term to use for robots with AI should be automaton [wikipedia.org] but that doesn't sound as good.

Re:why has every f***ng RC car to be called robot? (1)

Fnordulicious (85996) | more than 4 years ago | (#27670879)

The term for these remotely operated things is "waldo".

Re:why has every f***ng RC car to be called robot? (1)

Hitokiri Battousai (702935) | more than 4 years ago | (#27671631)

Not necessarily. The term "waldo" is generally restricted to anthropomorphic robots which are controlled by the same part of a human they imitate, such as a robotic hand being controlled by a sensing glove worn by a human. It can also be used to refer to a control mechanism that is a direct extension of an existing control mechanism that is meant to interface with a human, such as recreating a set of full-size controls for a car, and remotely linking them to an actual car.

Re:why has every f***ng RC car to be called robot? (1)

Gunstick (312804) | more than 4 years ago | (#27671655)

I would accept the term robot for the automats. At least they don't need a human all the time to do the dumb repetitive task. And if the task only requires to repeat stuff, then a "simple" memory what to do is all it needs.

It seems that today robot means "replacing a human by machine" even if the human still exists an is then just a few steps away.

Re:why has every f***ng RC car to be called robot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27670193)

FWIW robot wars did have a couple classes of robots that fought that were autonomous.

"Reins" fer chrissake (2, Informative)

beanyk (230597) | more than 4 years ago | (#27669235)

In order to keep tight reins on the mechatronic ball handlers' movements

...

Seriously? (4, Funny)

StaticEngine (135635) | more than 4 years ago | (#27669337)

The only robot I want playing with my balls is portrayed by Summer Glau. But I'll settle for the actual Summer Glau.

Not a robot? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27669527)

My senior project for my BSEE was to make an actual robot that did this same thing. Each team's robot competed against each other to identify it's own balls and sink them before the other one could. Wish I had the video on youtube or something so you could all see the surprisingly boring competition.

ROFLMAO (1, Redundant)

MWoody (222806) | more than 4 years ago | (#27669761)

Hee hee balls is another word for testicles!

Re:ROFLMAO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27670201)

Interesting? Where's the Informative mod?

Re:ROFLMAO (1, Redundant)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 4 years ago | (#27670605)

...and you got modded _interesting_?

What, did somebody not know this fact already? Not make the connection?

Funny, sure, but _interesting_?

Man, these mods today...they don't make 'em like they used to...

Escelation (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27669891)

Today they are the robots with sticks. Today we are controlling them but what about tomorrow. I welcome our stick bearing overlords.

Well, thanks to that awesome title... (5, Funny)

Jeian (409916) | more than 4 years ago | (#27669901)

... I don't think there's going to be a single serious comment in this thread.

Re:Well, thanks to that awesome title... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27685127)

I clicked on this story because of that awesome title.

THATS WHAT SHE SAID (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27670283)

THATS WHAT SHE SAID but she didn't say it with caps lock
THATS WHAT SHE SAID but she didn't say it with caps lock
THATS WHAT SHE SAID but she didn't say it with caps lock

or did she?

Robot Arcade Game... (1)

nate_in_ME (1281156) | more than 4 years ago | (#27670327)

When I first saw this thread, I was reminded of an arcade robot game that a few friends of mine designed and put out onto the market...and before anyone says anything, yes I know the dates are a little old on the site, but I know that they're still working on it...being a small player in the arcade gaming business makes it hard to really get started...
Robotic Amusements - Creators of Robo-Basho [roboticamusements.com]

proof (1)

Zero_Independent (664974) | more than 4 years ago | (#27670379)

This is proof that nerds are no more clever than the vile hoi polloi. Can I once hear the word "balls" without being subjected to a strained pun that only serves to illustrate the joker's lack of intelligence?

is Dean Kamen in there somewhere??? (1)

markana (152984) | more than 4 years ago | (#27670405)

This looks just like the kind of thing they do at those FIRST robotics competitions. So now you know what all the high-school robotics nerds will be doing when they graduate - they'll be hustling robotic pool with their finely-honed skills :-)

I personally, want to see little robots with saws and flamethrowers. Although that might be a bit hard on the felt...

No, what I really need is (2, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#27670407)

I don't need something that will play the game for me. What fun is that?

No, what I really need is something that will help me rack my balls quickly.

Re:No, what I really need is (0, Offtopic)

ender06 (913978) | more than 4 years ago | (#27670705)

I don't need something that will play the game for me. What fun is that?

No, what I really need is something that will help me rack my balls quickly.

What size rack do you prefer? A, B, C, D, DD? Assorted variations therein?

Not quite what I had in mind by the summary (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#27670741)

When I read the summary I was expecting some clever system that went around the perimeter of the table and pushed a robotic-controlled cue stick of some sorts. Instead we get what look to be small RC cars with special front ends. This is closer to soccer than it is to pool.

Now if instead something was built that did go around the perimeter of the table, and shoot in a more-or-less human fashion, that would be intriguing as it would actually be something that a human could play pool against. This is more of a gee-whiz (pool) parlor trick, IMHO.

You know those spam emails about... (1)

nathan.fulton (1160807) | more than 4 years ago | (#27670745)

"member enlargement" and how ridiculous they sound?

This entire thread sounds like that.

(This is an observation, not a criticism.)

Are there midgets involved? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27671467)

Where's the 800 number? Gimme a link! I neeeeed to see robot pron!!

Cue sticks? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#27672915)

Cue sticks? I've never heard this phrase used before, is it some kind of Canadianism? Perhaps over there they dig holes with shovel tools and eat bacon with fork utensils, eh.

Re:Cue sticks? (1)

Sp1n3rGy (69101) | more than 4 years ago | (#27687457)

Finally, something on slashdot I am actually qualified to discuss! haha!

The white ball is the "cue ball" and the stick is a "cue stick", "pool cue", "cue", etc... All are acceptable. One who builds cues is a "cuemaker." All one word. No space.

I'm a cuemaker at Carolina Cues [carolinacues.com].

Enjoy,
matta
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