Author Topic: Looking for a card sorting robot  (Read 5899 times)

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Offline poogleTopic starter

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Looking for a card sorting robot
« on: May 03, 2010, 08:09:24 PM »
First up I know nothing at all about electronics or robotics, though I do know a bit about programming.

What I'm looking to do is create a card sorting robot for trading cards (magic the gathering in particular), and I wanted to run by the concept before I even looked at making to see if greater minds could see a better way of doing things. The basic idea is:

Sorting would consist of sorting cards by colour / rarity (determined visually by scanner), then a second phase of sorting by individual card names (cards would be manually reloaded into the machine for this stage). This would require a 5x5 grid of slots for all the combinations.

So the machine would need to:

 - pick up an individual card from a stack / somehow get just one off
 - scan in the card and process the image
 - calculate the right box to drop it in
 - move the arm to the corresponding box & drop it in

 - have a switch to change sorting mode from fixed colour/rarity slots to individual card slots
 - be able to dynamically assign assign slots in the box to cards as they are discovered in a session
 - have a reset button to clear the slot allocations for this sorting mode

So my questions are:

 - Is this sort of project feasible for DIY robotics?
 - What would you give it out of 10 for difficulty for a beginner?
 - Any suggestions on how the concept could be improved?
 - Anyone got a clue how much something like this might cost to build?

Thanks for any advice

Offline corrado33

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Re: Looking for a card sorting robot
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2010, 09:13:03 PM »
Hmmm.. from what I'm gathering..., you want to build a robot arm that picks up one card at a time and puts it into one of 25 slots determined by what kind of card it is.  Correct?  Building a robot arm isn't the easiest thing for a beginner.  Grasping all of the topics of programming microcontrollers and controlling things with it is hard enough.

Making the robot arm do everything you want, as well as scanning and recognizing cards, would be a pretty decent project.  I think the hardest thing would be to recognize the name on the card.  I don't have a ton of experience, but I think the easiest way to do it would be to scan it into a computer, and have the computer do the image processing.  There are plenty of tutorials on the site, and I really suggest checking all of them out.  Build the $50 robot, and you would have learned enough to complete most of what you want to do.

Hopefully someone else will chime in and help out a bit. 

Please excuse any bad grammar, it's late, and I'm really tired...

Offline Razor Concepts

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Re: Looking for a card sorting robot
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2010, 09:16:51 PM »
If you already know how to do image processing, to the point where you can already create code to recognize cards through say a webcam, I would give it maybe a 6 or a 7 out of 10.

Basically, through whatever image processing software you use, have it pump out data through the USB port to an Arduino. Buy a prebuilt robotic arm, buy a vacuum pump, and with a little time you should have it down. Programming is usually the biggest obstacle, but it seems like you are set.

Offline Admin

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Re: Looking for a card sorting robot
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2010, 01:28:29 AM »
Reminds me of a robot I made ages ago (2004) . . . the suction cup worked really well - your device just needs to be able to peel a card away from it. I wasn't so great of a robot builder then, so you can see the problems it had . . .

Robot Arm Playing Card Dealer

And this video, which copied my music theme, appears to have one-upped me:

Robotic Playing Card Sorter

Offline corrado33

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Re: Looking for a card sorting robot
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2010, 09:23:22 AM »
Ha.. Admin I think in your terms your old robot was a Frankenstein  ;) ;) 

Anyway, for the second one, you it probably would have been more efficient to simply have the pile of cards under the camera, so they'd eliminate the whole card moving apparatus.  The card recognition was cool though.


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