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This basketball sculpture sinks shots for socialites

Arduino TeamApril 22nd, 2023

If you aren’t part of that world, you may be making the mistake of thinking that art galleries are full of boring paintings for stuffy socialites. In reality, there are all kinds of different art galleries and some of them have some pretty interesting pieces. Kinetic art is always the most exciting, as demonstrated by JBV Creative’s “Super Splash Bros” basketball sculpture built for display in a local gallery.

There weren’t any rigid constraints for this project, which let JBV Creative express his individuality. He experimented with a few different concepts and had some fun along the way, but ultimately settled on a miniature full court with two robots that throw tiny basketballs back and forth. One robot will throw the ball and sink a basket. The ball then rolls down a chute to land in the “hand” of the second robot, which proceeds to throw the ball back to the first robot’s side. That repeats endlessly, while a counter ticks up the number of sunk free-throws.

Most of this project was an exercise in mechanical design, with all of the parts either being 3D-printed or laser-cut. Beefy stepper motors actuate the robot arms and an Arduino Nano board controls those. The Arduino just needs to know when to do that, which is why each chute has a switch mounted below to detect the presence of a ball. Then it throws the ball and increases the count shown on a four-digit, seven-segment display.