Josh Hanson's "Connect Four Robot"
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The "Connect Four Robot"

The "Connect Four Robot" is designed to act out a game of Connect Four physically as the computer controls the logic of the game as it plays on screen for the user. It has multiple play options including: human vs. human, computer vs. human, human vs. computer, and computer vs. computer.  As one player makes a move, the robot will pick up a piece from the Plexiglas dispenser and place it in the column of the Connect Four “board” according to the move processed by the computer.  It picks up the red or black chip by using an electromagnet on the end of a vertical slider to move it up and down.  The computer will send out pulses to keep the electromagnet on and move the end-effector simultaneously until it gets into position.  The pulses are sent by the computer as binary ones and zeros and converted on the breadboard as triggers (or addresses) or as data that will actually make the coil of a triggered device powered.  It will then wait at that position until told to get another chip.  After the game is won and the user(s) are finished looking at the final board, it will then activate the actuator (taken from a car door lock – Thanks Bozz) to move the blue sliding release and let the chips in the board drop down one level into slots.  From each column’s slot, the electromagnet will come and pick up a chip from the space and return it to the top of the dispenser for it to roll back down to be collected in the next game and the magnet goes back for another chip until the board is empty.  The computer then tells the robot to move the actuator back into position for the board to catch the next game’s chips.