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Toys

Water Basketball Robot 88

tisaak writes "Second-year Mechanical Engineering students of the ETH Zurich are required to participate in the so-called "Innovation Project". A subject is assigned each year and 12 teams battle it out to develop a complete product. This year's subject was "Sport and rehabilitation" and "Cleaning". One of the teams managed to build a floating, ball-throwing kind of robot. I think the whole idea is funny and the fact that it has a lot of cables and a processor in it should appeal to the Slashdot public :-) The electronics platform used is called C-Control and is used to control the sensors, the motor and the LCD-Display. The implementation of the game program is nice, considering it is written in a subset of BASIC."
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Water Basketball Robot

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  • Religion (Score:5, Funny)

    by Leffe ( 686621 ) on Saturday July 05, 2003 @08:11AM (#6371896)
    http://www.floyd.ethz.ch/img/swimtest/spiel4_small .png [floyd.ethz.ch]

    That image looks like some kind of ritual, is it some kind of new robot religion? It seems like there is not much time left until the robots will rule.
  • It's starting to seem common to build a robot. On the other hadn, they used BASIC. How could anyone chose the glorious language of basic over something more confusing, and cluttered as C++, or possibly java?
    • a good reason (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dustball23 ( 309393 )
      They choose basic because that is probably the only language that processor can be programmed in.

      You don't program such chips with high-level languages like C & C++. Typically you only use assembly language or other machine-level codes.

      The basic-like language (not really a subset, btw) was just provided as a convenience to the programmers.

      -D
      • Re:a good reason (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Atrahasis ( 556602 )
        PICs (Microcontrollers) are, as you say, programmed in machine code.

        Of course, this means that ANY language, high level or not, can be used, provided that you have the appropriate compiler.

        Most compilers are BASIC compilers, but some, such as JAL [sourceforge.net] are more Pascal/C-like.

      • FORTH LOVE IF HONK THEN
  • by devnullkac ( 223246 ) on Saturday July 05, 2003 @08:15AM (#6371902) Homepage

    I don't know why, but I read the headline as White Basketball Robot, and all I thought was, "That's silly... everyone knows White Robots Can't Jump."

  • Nice (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nepheles ( 642829 ) on Saturday July 05, 2003 @08:15AM (#6371903) Homepage

    Innovation projects sound like a pretty good idea. Too many science courses, including comp-sci, are excessively theory-oriented. Innovation is the lifeblood of science, not the ability to recite a text-book.

    Every course should have something along these lines.

    • Too many science courses, including comp-sci, are excessively theory-oriented. Innovation is the lifeblood of science, not the ability to recite a text-book.

      Ya, but where do you think those theories came from? They didn't just drop out of the sky; they were innovated. On the other side of the coin, do you think theory played no role in this innovation contest? Sure, theory isn't everything, but it's also a necessary part of innovation.

      • Definitely! As they are mechanical engineering students, they'd better know the theory and learn about applying theory. I notice they were given a very low-powered controller board. They had to take the theories, and find a solution that would fit.
    • on the other hand, many of these projects end up being built a day or two before the competion out of whatever can be found due to the massive amounts of theory and its massive homework load, that second year engineering students must take
  • by craenor ( 623901 ) on Saturday July 05, 2003 @08:19AM (#6371908) Homepage
    With a processor and a bunch of cables and /. would love it, as long as it ran Linux.

    If it ran Windows, they would just love to make fun of it. [slashdot.org]
  • by mikeophile ( 647318 ) on Saturday July 05, 2003 @08:21AM (#6371912)
    That thing looks like a Mercury capsule gone very very wrong.

  • the fact that it has a lot of cables and a processor in it should appeal to the Slashdot public

    It sure got me wet.

  • Use a variation of the old banana throwing game to get the robot to throw the ball? Man I wish I could remember the name of that game right now. Couldn't get enough of it when I first got my computer ages ago.
    • Actually, it was called "Gorillas". That was probably the coolest game in the world. When my computer lab at school was running old 486's, the only games ON the computers where Nibbles and Gorrilas. Needless to say, once I found Basic was on the computer, I modified all the source code and released my new "Hippyfied" version to everyone in the class. Hillarity ensued.
  • by mirko ( 198274 ) on Saturday July 05, 2003 @08:35AM (#6371933) Journal
    what is a subset of BASIC ? "BAS" or "SIC" ?
  • I'm shocked (Score:4, Funny)

    by Faust7 ( 314817 ) on Saturday July 05, 2003 @09:06AM (#6371990) Homepage
    the fact that it has a lot of cables and a processor in it should appeal to the Slashdot public

    What do you think we are, nerds or something?
  • by AndroidCat ( 229562 ) on Saturday July 05, 2003 @09:12AM (#6371996) Homepage
    From what I can tell here [c-control.de] that board doesn't exactly use recent technology.

    Controller

    - Motorola MC68HC05B16 mask programmed, - 4MHz,
    - 256 byte free for Assembler codes.

    EEPROM
    - 24C65 serial,
    - 8K x 8 bit.

    Ports
    - 16 digital ports - each programmable as input or output (5V/10mA),
    - 8 analogue inputs,
    - 2 analogue outputs (pulse-width modulated, PWM frequency 1953 Hz),
    - DCF-77 input (also for frequency measuring),
    - RS-232 interface (1200 - 9600 Baud).

    If you were looking for the lowest power microcontroller board available, this would be in the running. I guess it was inexpensive -- always a plus for student projects. (My first computer in 1979 could probably thrash this good, except in size.)

    • Even if its only 4MHz it would have been much cooler if it has been watercooled (since its already floating in water) haha.. .zzZZ
  • the machines will attack us when we won't allow their basketball team in our olympics. Neo (Wooden Plank, not Reeves) will be our only hope!
  • Does this mean we will be able to watch hot female androids playing basketball, instead of really tall sweaty men, in the future? Woohoo! I'm there!
  • OT (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Just goes to show what people can do when they are not busy killing each other and fighting over who owns what.
    • Re:OT (Score:3, Funny)

      by Nf1nk ( 443791 )
      we can build clumsy robots that throw basketballs while swimming? some how I expected more
    • by keepr ( 613447 )
      The whole reason we have Robots is because the military wants robots that kill people!! AIBO the honda robot is really a Stealth assasin between the hr's of 2200 hrs and 0600, and a media icon in the downtime..
      • Actually, AIBO [sonystyle.com] is Sony's baby. Your thinking of ASIMO [honda.com], which is Handa's.
        • by keepr ( 613447 )
          Yes your right, I guess I should check my facts before I fire off random replies on /.
          • Yes your right, I guess I should check my facts before I fire off random replies on /.

            Why bother???

            No-one else does...

            Thats part of why /. works!
    • Just goes to show what people can do when they are not busy killing each other and fighting over who owns what.

      Yeah, building robots that kill each other and fight over who owns what.
      • hmmmm, solve all the worlds problems through one large game of robot wars. Sounds good to me:)
        • hmmmm, solve all the worlds problems through one large game of robot wars. Sounds good to me:)

          India will win because they can afford 8 operators per every one of ours.
          • How about China? They could probably force the people to operate. Or Japan could invent the robot that fights without an operator :)
  • Hmmm... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by 8tim8 ( 623968 )
    >One of the teams managed to build a floating, ball-throwing kind of robot...it should appeal to the Slashdot public :-)

    From previous stories that have appealed to the /. crowd, I get this image of a floating robot that can hurl a pumpkin a mile.
  • I wonder how well it dribbles? And how good is its dunk shot?
  • Actually,

    I looked at the pics and was deceived by the lack of cables: my very standard PC has more if you open it, and if I consider some of the network cable racks we have down in the computer basement, then the robot definitely doesn't shine in the cable dept...

    That said, it's weird, it's quirky, it's useless and that nearly makes it funny ;-p
  • Don't you mean Water Polo [usawaterpolo.com]?
  • Anyone else, after reading the title, hear Ben Kingsly's voice in the back of their head: "I love water basketball." I always thought it was one of the funniest lines in the movie.
  • Floating robot....that's pretty cool. Maybe you answered this in your statement but how are the cables etc. able to get wet without something happening?

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