Autors: Łukasz Maliszewski, Daniel Semkowicz, Szymon Jasak, Piotr Portasiak, Kornel Koszela, Mateusz Michalak
Robotic Chessboard consists of an automated and voice-controlled platform that enables to play chess contactless, both against live opponent and stockfish-powered AI. Moreover, it can be used to re-enact previously saved or played by correspondence chess games. The platform can be easily modified to play other games as well.
Construction is based on biaxial Cartesian manipulator and effector based on a servomotor positioning a magnet. Both axes are powered by two high precision step motors. High repeatability makes them one of best solutions for this type of a problem. Advanced motor controllers with stop detection allow homing without the need of limit switches. Specially manufactured iron cores of chess figures allow them to make their “magical” moves. Everything is enclosed within a stylish wooden box.
Control and communication of chessboard is handled by STM32F103RET. Interfaces like USB and Bluetooth allow us to communicate with several other devices in one time. Microcontroller converts information sent from pc to manipulator’s translations and controls stepper motors. TMC2130 drivers make this construction really quiet ant step-lose-proof.
Chess board in its current state can be controlled in two ways: using GUI on a laptop, voice control. GUI shows current state of the board, most important information about the game and state of the connection to robot, as well as setting up AI for one or both sides of the chess board. Moves can be done by either mouse or touch screen. Voice interface is in the making. Speech recognition is based on CMUSphinx engine, allowing us to work without internet connection. Parallel to that, Google Speech engine based interface is produced, giving much better results, but requiring stable internet connection.
Project can be adapted to play other board games, such as checkers, snakes and ladders and so on. Platform was utilized to create a ”Maze” game, which challenged players to navigate a robot statue through a maze using two control panels (one for each axis) in teams. The game was a great success on many events, both regional and countrywide.
Robotic Chessboard took part in an international championship RobotChallenge 2017 in Beijing, winning the 1st place in Freestyle competition.