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Stanford Students Build Robots to Shoot Hoops

This robot expanded to reveal flaps that blocked other robots from sinking baskets. (Photo credit: Stanford University.)
This robot expanded to reveal flaps that blocked other robots from sinking baskets. (Photo credit: Stanford University.)

Stanford University students recently competed in their own mechatronic sporting event, with 34 robots collecting tennis balls and shooting them into hoops.

The small, tabletop arena was divided into two sides: one per robot. Each team could earn one point for shooting the ball into the net on their side, and two or three points if they landed a ball in a hoop on the other side of the arena. The bots had two minutes to shoot as many balls as possible.

“I think you learn so much from doing,” said Stanford graduate student Kirsten Kaplan. “That’s one of the things that I love about Stanford. They talked about the importance of pull-down resistors. I forgot. Then we didn’t have them and the bot didn’t work, and now I will never forget that!”

The competition was held as part of Stanford’s Mechanical Engineering 210 class.

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