"Have no fear of perfection -- you'll never reach it." -- Salvador Dali, artist
When we started thinking of bringing out the robot to the market, we wanted to have a set of goals that will help us make decisions.
We have been working on building software products for a while now. One thing we have learned is that there is no perfect design that will do everything every design decision is a trade-off.
Here are a few goals guiding our development
- The robot should be able to do what most mainstream robots can do in terms of spin (sidespin, topspin, underspin, and dead ball)
- Control frequency of ball for drills
- Able to do custom drills (watch out for upcoming video's explaining this)Being able to control from any mobile device
Price is an essential factor we consider when we look at buying a robot. Most people cannot afford $1000 - $2000 for a robot.
We wanted to make our table tennis robot affordable. The initial goal is to be able to sell it around $450, and over time we should be able to lower this cost down.
Easy to assemble and replace parts
Most robots in the market have their own custom plastic molds, while this is good for mass producing and lowering the costs. The upfront cost for creating a custom mold is expensive.
We decided that we will go with the concept used in 3d printers. In 3d printers, the design of the parts are readily available, and users can print them easily. We have used laser cut and 3d printed parts.
This process makes it easier for users to get the design and replace a part.
Another aspect that we considered in our design is to make the robot extensible. It should be easy for the user to add any functionality to the robot (for example to automatically recycle the ball from net into the bucket )
Built on open source
Our product is built using open source software and high-level languages. We will add more details on this in later posts.