A Dive Into Microcontrollers: A Dark Horse Technology; Self-Correcting Ping Pong Launching Robot (PPLR)

Chen, David, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Earle, Joshua

The Microcontroller (MCU) is a cutting-edge piece of technology that has both civilian and engineering applications. The STS paper will specifically look at how the inception and development of the MCU have shaped society and engineering into what it is now. The application and social impact of MCUs will be discussed in detail, proving that although MCUs may be a dark-horse technology, they are highly impactful and important in the development of the digital age.

The technical project is a user-controlled ping-pong ball-launching robot that has a deterministic feedback loop with a self-correction procedure. The robot can aim at 1 of 9 target squares with immense accuracy. Using image processing, the detection of the ball will be reported back to the robot and if it has missed it will readjust and make a correction to fire again. The project uses a combination of a pan/tilt mount controlled by servo motors, a push solenoid, and a computer user interface as a control mechanism for aiming.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Microcontrollers, Technological Determinism

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Electrical & Computer Engineering
Technical Advisor: Harry Powell
STS Advisor: Joshua Earle
Technical Team Members: Kai Barzdukas, Angus Chang, Jacob Coughlin

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