Playing Connect Four against a mini golfing AI opponent
Have you dreamed of combining the two incredible activities putt-putt and Connect Four together into the same game? Well one daring maker set out to do just that. Bithead’s innovative design involves a mini golf surface with seven holes at the end corresponding to the columns. The Scottish-themed robotic system — appropriately dubbed Connect Fore! — can keep track of where each golf ball is with an array of 42 color sensors that are each connected to one of seven I2C multiplexers, all leading to a single Arduino Uno.
Connect Fore! provides an immersive experience through “Scotty,” an artificially intelligent opponent with continuous entertaining banter using authentic Scottish phrases. Players can select from six distinct levels of AI, from random shots in the dark to Q Learning, which records previous game-winning moves to improve how it plays over time. Scotty can putt by first loading a golf ball into a chamber and then spinning up a couple of high-RPM motors that launch it. For the human, there is a pair of dispensers on the left to give the correct color of ball.
The entire setup runs on an Intel NUC that hosts the game, which was written in C#. There’s a large 22″ touchscreen at the front that is mounted at eye-level for easy interactions. Although it took Bithead nearly 18 months and $3,500, the end result is spectacular. Be sure to check out Bithead’s great write-up and the demo videos below!