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Hi everyone!

I'm very excited at the prospect of my first arduino project.
Is anyone familiar with the mobile game Paper Toss? If not I'm sure you've attempted to throw scrunched up paper balls into a bin as if it were a basketball hoop. Was interested in doing my first arduino project which would allow the bin to sense the paper balls as they fell in so I could turn it into a score-able game. What would be the best solution to this idea? What kind of parts would I need? I know very little about the types of sensors I could use.

Also, would it make any difference getting a Leonardo instead of an Uno? I like the convenience of having a micro USB port.

Thanks in advance guys. Can't wait to get started!
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Assuming the balls are thrown one at a time and that the minimum ball diameter is known then a "light curtain" is worth thinking about. Have LEDs on the rim of the bin shining on photoresistors. As a ball breaks the beam or beams you can count it.

The beams would need to be close enough together so that a ball cannot get through without breaking at least one.

You should look for a short change in resistance as opposed to a gradual change that might occur as ambient light levels vary. Before going too far it would be worth confirming that a fast moving ball causes enough of a change in resistance for accurate counting.

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Assuming the balls are thrown one at a time and that the minimum ball diameter is known then a "light curtain" is worth thinking about. Have LEDs on the rim of the bin shining on photoresistors. As a ball breaks the beam or beams you can count it.

The beams would need to be close enough together so that a ball cannot get through without breaking at least one.

You should look for a short change in resistance as opposed to a gradual change that might occur as ambient light levels vary. Before going too far it would be worth confirming that a fast moving ball causes enough of a change in resistance for accurate counting.

I agree, but instead of using regular LEDs which can give inconsistant readings when both the LED and ambient light go into the photoresistor, you should go with maybe infrared LEDs and IR receivers.(depending on budget)

OR

Use a single IR distance sensor or Ultrasonic distance sensor and set the sensor to read a certain distance like 5 inches to 1 inche (depending on hoop size). Set limiters so that it does not get set off when anything is greater than 5 inches or less than 1. When it detects something with in the set range, it will trigger you score board or whatever you want to use.
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Would using IR LEDs and receivers be much more difficult for a newbie to pull off? Is it something I could adapt, so I could use regular LEDs and photoresistors to begin with and then adapt it to work with infrared later on for greater accuracy?

Thanks for the ideas so far!
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Go with the basics, then work your way up.
Start with regular LEDs and a photoresistor then go from there.
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Go with the basics, then work your way up.
- good advice.

Start with one LED and photoresistor, drop/throw balls though the beam - can you detect them accurately? You might try changing the ambient light as well. If you can get the simple case working everything else falls into place.

In my experience if you build and test a project incrementally you understand everything well and the end product is solid with few bugs. On the other hand if you go straight for a final solution you will not have the same depth of understanding, it is much more difficult to test the product fully, and you may find the product does not work at all but you cannot figure out why. Even if it seems to work there will probably be more bugs in it.
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