In a nutshell: Engineer Shane Wighton has created a smart basketball goal that ensures every shot you make hits the basket. At its core, this contraption is a room-sized cable-controlled robot with six degrees of freedom that moves the backboard and hoop using a system of pulleys.

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Six 8 hp motors were used to manage the cables, and Wighton used foam and fiberglass for the rear panel, and aluminum for the rim to keep weight to a minimum.

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Supplying power to the rig was a problem as the sockets alone were not up to the task. Wyton had to use a junction box powered by a powerful source, but even this was not enough to keep each engine running at maximum power. This is good, as running the unit at full capacity will simply tear the cables to shreds.

In terms of electronics, a microcontroller and tracking system was used to detect the basketball, predict its direction, and move the goal into place to intercept the shot. As you can imagine, there’s also a lot of math involved on the software side to determine when, where, and how to position the hoop to ensure the ball goes through it. It’s all pretty exciting and well worth a deeper dive if you’re into that sort of thing.

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After a lot of trial and error, Whyton realized that he needed to redesign the ball tracking system to improve its accuracy. He also set up some security settings so he wouldn’t have to worry about “knocking out” his wife with one punch.

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Image credit: Pedro da Silva