Posts with «chess» label

Play chess using voice commands and Arduino

Consider the game of chess. It’s a game that flexes one’s “mental muscles” rather than relying on brute strength, but if you don’t have the ability to actually move the pieces, things get a bit more challenging. If you’re playing against another human opponent, he or she could move for you based on what you say, but with this chess machine by ‘diyguypt,’ the board does the job for you!

The system uses an Android-based Arduino Voice Control app to take in commands, and passes this information along to the Arduino Mega concealed under the board via an HC-05 Bluetooth module. It then controls a pair of stepper motors to move an electromagnet into place, which pull the pieces across the grid as if by magic! 

Code and build info are available in the project’s write-up, and the two videos below shed a little more light on how it works.

Voice Chess Uses Phone, Arduino, And An Electromagnet

[Diyguypt] may be an altruist to provide the means for people who can’t manipulate chess pieces to play the game. Or he may just have his hands too busy with food and drink to play. Either way, his voice command chessboard appears to work, although it has a lot of moving parts both figuratively and literally. You can check out the video below to see how it works.

The speech part is handled by an Android phone and uses Google’s voice services, so if you don’t want Google listening to your latest opening gambit, you’ll want to pass this one up. The phone uses an app that talks to the Arduino via Bluetooth, which means the Arduino needs a Bluetooth module.

The Arduino controls what amounts to an upside-down 3D printer. Instead of a hot end pointing down, the mechanism has an electromagnet pointing up. A small washer in the base of each chess piece makes it susceptible to the magnet’s motion. The electromagnet is required to let go of a piece before a move to a new position. It is possible that a small servo moving a permanent magnet closer to the board for a move and away from the board to reposition could do the same job, though we suspect that could be tricky.

We’ve seen this before, often with a Harry Potter theme. We sort of prefer a more obvious chess robot, but that’s just us.

A Colorful Way To Play Chess On An ATmega328

We’ve all seen those chess computers that consist out of a physical playing field, and a built-in computer that would indicate where you should put its pieces while inputting the position of your pieces in some way. These systems are usually found in a dusty cardboard box in a back room’s closet, as playing like this is fairly cumbersome, and a lot depends on the built-in chess computer.

This take by [andrei.erdei] on this decades-old concept involves an ATmega328p-based Arduino Pro Mini board, a nice wooden frame, and 4 WS2812-based 65×65 mm RGB 8×8 LED matrices, as well as some TTP223 touch sensors that allow one to control the on-board cursor. This is the sole form of input: using the UP and RIGHT buttons to select the piece to move, confirm with OK, then move to the new position. The chess program will then calculate its next position and indicate it on the LED matrix.

Using physical chess pieces isn’t required either: each 4×4 grid uses a special pattern that indicates the piece that occupies it.  This makes it highly portable, but perhaps not as fun as using physical pieces. It also kills the sheer joy of building up that collection of enemy pieces when you’ve hit that winning streak. You can look at the embedded gameplay video after the break and judge for yourself.

At the core of the chess program is [H.G. Muller]’s micro-Max project. Originally ported to the Arduino Uno, this program outputs the game to the serial port. After tweaking it to use the LED matrix instead, [andrei.erdei] was then faced with the lack of memory on the board for the most common LED libraries. In the end, the FAB_LED library managed to perform the task with less memory, allowing it and the rest of the program to fit comfortably into the glorious 2 kB of SRAM that the ATmega328p provides.

Classic 8-bit chess engines are marvels of software engineering. Ever wonder how they stack up against modern chess software? Check out this article!

Digital Opponent In An Analog Package

Unsatisfied with the present options for chess computers and preferring the feel of a real board and pieces, [Max Dobres] decided that his best option would be to build his own.

Light and dark wood veneer on 8mm MDF board created a board that was thin enough for adding LEDs to display moves and for the 10mm x 1mm neodymium magnets in the pieces to trip the reed switches under each space. The LEDs were wired in a matrix and connected to an Arduino Uno by a MAX7219 LED driver, while the reed switches were connected via a Centipede card. [Dobres] notes that you’ll want to test that the reed switches are positioned correctly — otherwise they might not detect the pieces!

A small LCD screen and four buttons also connect to the Arduino for configuring options a number of options, computer difficulty, and play styles, while a Raspberry Pi acts as the main computer.

The Raspberry Pi is using ChessBoard 2.05 as a rule set with consideration for special moves (such as en passant and castling). It’s currently unsupported but used with permission by its creator, John Eriksson. The chess program Stockfish is the actual engine; be sure to adjust the skill of the AI, as it defaults to an ELO of 2600! Unfortunately, it’s a rather finicky program, only running on Python 2.7. If that doesn’t appeal to you, [Dobres] has provided a nice list of other options to help you with your own build.

He has recently updated his design and done away with the need for the Arduino in the process which — especially if you use the Pi Zero — drops the cost of this project significantly. That should leave you with enough room in your budget to build a robot to make the moves for you!

[via Max Dobres]

Filed under: Arduino Hacks, Raspberry Pi

Video mixing chess games on tv in Norway using Ethernet Shield

Heidi Røneid with an Arduino Ethernet microprocessor. (Photo: Tore Zakariassen, NRK)

When The Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) planned the television broadcast of the Chess Olympiad 2014 in Tromsø, Norway, they encountered a challenge: how to mix video, graphics and the results of many ongoing chess games simultaneously, requiring 16 cameras for the games going on at the same time?

On their blog you can find a long and nice post about how they found the solution using Arduino Uno, Arduino Ethernet Shield and the library for Arduino to control such Atem switchers written by Kasper Skårhøj:

At first, the idea was to use a computer with a webcam for each of the 16 games, then mix video images, background animation and results in software on each of them.

Afterwards the finished mix of images would be streamed to separate channels in our web player, so that the online audience would be able to choose which game they wanted to follow. This solution would also provide our outside broadcasting van (OB van) with 16 finished video sources composed of video, graphics and results. This would make the complex job of mixing all video signals much easier.

After thorough thinking we came to the conclusion that for our web-audience, it would be better to skip the stream of individual games, and spend our resources on building websites that could present all games in the championship via HTML in real time. This would also give the audience the opportunity to scroll back and forth in the moves and recall all the previous games in the championship. We started working on it immediately, and you can find the result on our website

Arduino Blog 28 Aug 19:14
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