Mark Rober, a former NASA-engineer who gained his popularity through YouTube, made a custom dartboard system which is incredibly programmed to perfectly position itself so that the dark always hits the bull’s-eye. No matter where you throw the dart, the system tracks it through the air and changes its position. Basically, if the dart isn’t going towards the target, the target will bring itself towards it.
It took Rober over 3 years of work to put together an accurate and perfect automated dartboard. He broadcasted his commendable work over YouTube in a video. He briefed the making by explaining how he put the two parts of the project together: tracking the dark through the air, predicting where it’d land and then programming the dartboard to move in order to catch it.
In the video, Rober explained the first part; tracking the dart. He explained that an average dark thro requires 400 milliseconds to travel towards the board from a decided throwing point. He used six-camera Vicon motion capture systems that tracked the position of the dart during this short period of time.
The motion capture system uses IR LEDs that detect the dart because of the tiny retro-reflectors attached to it. This system successfully tells the exact location of the dart in 3D space. The rest of the prediction was done by some basic physics equations to analyze the trajectory of the dart and analyzing where it’ll hit.
The second part of the project is to move the dartboard. To accomplish that, Rober attached the board to two sliders that allow it to move anywhere on a plane. The movement is aided by a system of six stepper motors that allow the dart to quickly adjust its position. As soon as the landing location of the dart is calculated, a computer calculates the position of the bull’s eye. It is programmed to send the exact position to the motors to bring the dartboard at the right position.
This whole design is pretty impressive and the fact that the system constantly tracks and predicts accordingly in such a short period of time.