The goal of this project was to design and build a ‘gaming’ device capable of levitating a ping pong ball at varying heights based on the proximity of the user to the device. The project based on ATMega16 microcontroller.
The project incorporates a fairly complex mechanical system and utilizes many features of the ATmega platform including Analog-to-Digital conversion, SPI communication, Pulse Width Modulation, and real-time task scheduling. The designers, both electrical engineers, wanted to break the norm and build something more physically complex as the project involved a lot of physical construction, using materials like wood and Plexiglas. The game is intended to require significant physical motion on behalf of the participant, in the style of a Wii or Microsoft Kinect game.
The true inspiration for this project was derived from a future project the designers intend to build in their spare time, during senior week. This project, a pneumatic, range-sensing soda can launcher will utilize the same sonar sensor and 7-segment display featured in the levitation game. Taking into account ABET criterion for senior design projects, the soda can launcher was tabled, and the levitation game was designed originally utilizing compressed air to levitate the Ping-Pong ball. A valve capable of regulating the output pressure of a compressed air tank proved too costly for the budgetary constraints of this project, and therefore several blower motors were tested for their adequacy based on their air volume movement ratings (CFM).
Intended to be both entertaining and interactive, the levitation game will be fun for children and adults alike, it is bright, loud, and attractive to those who are curious regarding the fundamentals of flight and the Bernoulli effect. Designed to sit on a tabletop, the game currently requires a large DC power supply to run the blower motor, but a 120v adapter could be easy incorporated if the game were to be more portable. This project was designed by Adam Yozwiak and David Zlotnick.
Ultrasonic Spheroid Levitation Game in Action