Robot to return balls

I want to build an autonomous robot that finds balls I've thrown and returns them.

My original issue was bringing robot back to origin however I believe i can just log the steps its taken to find a ball then reverse them.

My key question/dilemma is how would I go about finding these balls. I was thinking I'd use ping pong balls and put some sort of chips in them? Is this possible?

Some RF or IR beacon in the ball & direction finder on the robot and you should be able to have the robot aim for it.

Obstacles will seriously complicate this.

Retracing your steps won't work as you can never guarantee that each step (or rotation of a wheel) makes you move the same distance. Running two wheels at the same speed generally makes you go in an unpredictable direction which is never straight ahead, and may change with the slightest bump in the road.

I’ll look into the beacons.
I had this issue with a robot last year where i had to have both wheels running at different speeds so robo truly went ‘straight’… even then it would shift to one side.
Would quality motors and wheels fix this issue?
What would be the alternative to make the robot return to me(assuming i stay where i placed it)?

Assuming you have a car and know how to drive: go drive straight, then lock the wheel. See how long before you run into the side of the road.

No matter how high the quality of the motor, wheels, suspension - even when running on a perfectly smooth surface you will deviate.

Putting transmitters in the balls seems completely impractical to me. If you want to find transmitters why would you need balls to wrap around them.

IMHO if you want to find balls you need a camera and image analysis software which is far beyond te capability of an Arduino

...R

morgster100:
I want to build an autonomous robot that finds balls I’ve thrown and returns them.

My key question/dilemma is how would I go about finding these balls. I was thinking I’d use ping pong balls and put some sort of chips in them? Is this possible?

Image detection is probably a good approach but the complexity of the scene determines how difficult this will be and if the Arduino is the best platform for the task.

Where are you throwing the balls (what background/surface) and are they specific type/colour/size balls or multiple types/colours/sizes.

Robin2:
IMHO if you want to find balls you need a camera and image analysis software which is far beyond te capability of an Arduino

Have a look at this. Most of the heavy lifting is done by the camera that just sends position/size of detected item bounding boxes to Arduino. The caveat is the detected items needs to be a unique colours to have a good chance of working well.

Go out and buy a Black Lab and call it Robot, it will find balls better than any other robot you could ever build and provide you with unquestioning love which mechanical robots don't do so well. Yes, you have to feed Robot but think of that as recharging his batteries.

The only drawback I can think of is that upgrades are not easy to acheive, remember it started out as a Black Lab and the CPU is not very big. The small CPU has its advantages as it will never look at you askance when you throw the ball for retrieval even if you do it alll day long. Robot will gladly find the ball retrieve it and drop it at your feet all the while showing how happy the system is by wagging its tail. Think of the tail as a health monitoring system, something that machines all want today and black labs have had for 1,000's of years.

Now get out there and go shopping, with all of self-quarantining you will never find a better time to buy a robot development kit (a puppy) and spend the summer programming (training) it, enjoy.

"I'll look into the beacons."

Do a forum search for "beacon" and you will probably find more discussions on beacon location than you can read in a week. Few ever seem to find a practical solution to the location identification problem.

morgster100:
I'll look into the beacons.

Careful, they might damage your eyes.

:wink:

wwbrown:
The only drawback I can think of is that upgrades are not easy to acheive, remember it started out as a Black Lab and the CPU is not very big.

Another drawback is when you chuck the project in a box at the back of the cupboard it tends to smell.