Engineer builds robot backboard so he never misses a shot

He shoots. He scores! Infinitely.

Engineer Shane Wighton of the YouTube channel Stuff Made Here created a basketball hoop he can’t miss on. Wighton used Microsoft Kinect, an Xbox motion-sensing controller and facial recognition software to make the robotic backboard.

The hoop starts by identifying Wighton, first and foremost. As you’ll see, when his wife tries to make a shot in the video, it doesn’t work out quite as well.

First, Wighton shoots and the backboard directs the basketball into the hoop.

“Wow, you are really good at basketball,” a computer-generated voice tells him.

When Wighton’s wife tries, the backboard spikes the ball away from the hoop.

“Wow, you really suck at basketball,” the voice teases her.

Thus, the backboard is programmed to recognize who is shooting and who it should assist to hilarious results. Wighton provides a thorough look into how he created the smart hoop in the video.

“The basic gist is that the backboard is tracking everything that’s going on in the room,” Wighton says. “It figures out if a ball is coming at it and what trajectory it’s on. And then it uses that information to figure out how it needs to move the backboard so it’ll direct the ball into the hoop.”

These calculations must be made quickly because it takes 600 milliseconds between throwing the ball and when it reaches the backboard. Wighton noted that when the system lags, the backboard doesn’t work because it doesn’t react in time.

So he opted for a design that could move faster. To solve the issue, Wighton used three motors that provide three degrees of motion, connected to the backboard with a universal joint. He attached the motors to the back of the backboard’s frame, rather than the frame itself. This made it lightweight enough to move in time to direct the ball.

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