Testing Infrared Emitters and Detectors

I am trying to detect a table tennis ball passing trough a polypropylene pipe. (Don’t ask why just yet. It’s a secret.) The ball is propelled trough the pipe by air pressure from a centrifugal fan. I have been using a Sharp Infrared Proximity Sensor for this but it has several drawbacks:

  • The hole needed in the pipe is quite big, approximately 10 by 40mm. This leads to a loss of air pressure and the ball moves slower.
  • The sensing range of the sensor is 30 to 400mm so the bracket for holding the sensor needs to be quite big since the sensor needs to be mounted at least 30mm from the pipe.
  • The ball moves so fast trough the pipe that the sensor is not fast or accurate enough to detect the ball passing. The ball is detected but the sensor reading is not high enough to rule out any errors .

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Electronics for current project assembled

This is the prototype for a project I am working on at the moment. The project involves sensing a table tennis ball and reacting to its position. The components from top left: Phidget Motor Controller, Firgelli L16 Micro Linear Actuator 1:30, 3x Sharp Infrared Proximity Sensors, Phidget Interface Kit 8/8/8 with a Phidget Dual Relay Board wich in turn will be connected to a 12V Micronel Centrifugal fan.

The final project will look nothing like this but having the components mounted to a piece of chipboard makes it easier to keep all the parts from becoming an even worse jumbled mess while I write the code.

Now I better start writing the Air app to control it.

Research and development of new and novel ways of interaction, data gathering and imaging using open hardware and custom software.