Degree Name

BS in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering Department


Peter Schuster


This project is a first iteration of an automated foosball table designed and created using servomotors provided by Yaskawa to create an interactive tradeshow display where guests can play against the algorithms developed in the PLC (programmable logic controller) controlling the servomotors. There will be a second iteration of the project done by a different team directly following this one. The motion components were selected with the intent to be able to surpass the reaction times and speeds of expert human players. There are a total of eight servomotors, four controlling linear actuators for translation of rods, and four controlling the rotation of rods. The table is equipped with a vision system that will output the location of the foosball, calculate the velocity, and predict the future ball location. Using the inputs from the vision system, the algorithms in the PLC decides how to move each rod. In addition to the motion and vision system, structures were designed and built to support the components. There is a scoreboard made from sheet metal parts that was intended to automatically keep score of the game. A vision arch was designed and manufactured using Aluminum extruded parts to support the scoreboard and camera of the vision system. A display case was designed and manufactured to house all the motion components and electrical components to ensure guests can not touch any moving or electrical parts while being able to see all the motion components of the system. A playfield cover was designed to prevent guests from touching the foosmen while the system is in motion. For the first iteration, motion system, display case, vision arch, and the scoreboard was completely designed and built. The motion system includes basic algorithm that only used position input to decide the positions of each rod individually in both rotation and axial directions to block or shoot the ball. The vision system, scoreboard, and playfield cover was not finished. Parts for the vision system was selected and purchased, but programming was not finished to output correct position and communicate with the PLC. To compensate, an HMI interface was created to simulate continuous ball position inputs to the PLC. Lighting issues with the vision system was not resolved. The scoreboard structure was built, but the electronics were not assembled and programming not finished due to time constraints. The playfield cover structure was designed, but the covering material (acrylic, wire mesh, etc) was not selected due to interference with the vision system. The second iteration of the project should finish the parts that are incomplete from this first iteration, such as the implementing the vision system, scoreboard, and playfield cover. The structural and motion components should be sufficient, but changes and improvements can be made as well. The major improvements would be to the programming of the PLC to include foosball strategies to better simulate a player.