"The Claw" is a home version
of a classic arcade game that requires skill and some luck.
Players are given a chance to win stuffed animals and various other
prices locked within a plastic box. In my version of the game,
this is done by entering coordinates into a computer, instead of the
typical joystick. After this is done, the machine will move into
position over the coordinates and the claw will descend. Then,
the claw will close and return to its normal height just before
releasing what it hopefully picked up into the prize box.
"The Claw" works on the principles of computer interfacing and
automation. First, the machine was constructed to allow for
movement along an x, y, and z axis, as well as a separate claw clamping
motion. Printer mechanisms, powered by stepper motors, give
motion to the x, y, and z axes. A circuit board interfaced with a
computer is used to control all of these movements. A program
translates the coordinates entered into the computer to the necessary x
and y axis movements. The information is then sent to the circuit
board where it is read and directed to the necessary motors. The
Claw would now be positioned over the target. Next, the computer
program finishes the game by lowering the claw and then closing it over
the target. The program sends the code to keep the claw closed
until it is over the prize box. The program then sends preset
homing coordinates to prepare the game for another run.