When we were creating our project, our objective was to simulate a soccer match, where two players were passing the ball to each other. The difference here was that instead of the players trying to get the ball into one goal, each player had their own “goal” in the form of an opening gate, where they would try to pass the ball through the gate when it opened to the other player. We were also aiming for the gate to open randomly while the players moved consistently, in order to create a scenario with two players and a dynamic “goal” that would or would not cooperate. 


To accomplish this, we fabricated paddle-like and gate-like structures (using laser cutters) that could retrofit on the motors of the existing test bed. We then programmed two motors that held the gates to move in a somewhat random motion while the other two motors that held the players would move in a controlled motion. We then placed a variety of rolling objects into the testbed to see how they would move back and forth. 


With the various rolling objects, we noticed that a white wheel worked the best because it was light, large (more space to be hit), and rolled easily, while our original object of choice, a marble, didn’t work as well because it was too small and too dense. We noticed that there were a lot of areas on the testbed where the gates and paddles couldn’t reach to make contact with the wheel, thus causing it to get stuck during some runs. We tried to fix this by adding thermocol wall-like structures after which the oscillating motion became better. The passing through the gates wasn’t as quick and clean as we would’ve liked but we definitely saw a mix of randomness and choreography – sometimes the oscillating motion of the gates and the paddles would look choreographed and intentional whereas at other times they would appear to be erratically moving. We had also planned to include color symbolism by having the opening gates be red, since they were fickle in how often they opened and usually “stopped” the wheel, and the paddles were green because they were trying to make the wheel move from one side of the box to the other. This produced a visual effect of two opposing teams “fighting”, where the green team was trying to roll the wheel past the red team, and the red team was trying to block their opportunities.

Photos of Fabricated Hardware:

Video of Testing: