Robotic Cornhole Guarantees Victory, Assuming Everyone Else Is Too Drunk To Realise You’re Cheating

Gif: YouTube, Other
Gif: YouTube, Other

Months of free time and loads of untapped ingenuity has resulted in competitively-challenged hackers coming up with clever ways to use technology to dominate various sports. We’ll leave it up to you to decide if Cornhole officially falls into that category, but either way, Michael Rechtin’s managed to upgrade the game to ensure victory to all but the most drunken competitors.

Following in the footsteps of Mark Rober’s never miss dartboard and Shane Wighton’s ball-tracking basketball hoop, Rechtin decided it was time to eliminate some of the skill needed to win at Cornhole, a fairly simple game where small bags of corn kernels or beads are tossed through a hole in an angled board. Simple to explain, but hard to win, until now.

Unlike Rober or Wighton’s projectile-tracking creations, however, Rechtin wanted his hacks to be as cheap as the game itself is, which often doesn’t require building materials more expensive than scrap plywood. So instead of employing pricey infra-red trackers or a Microsoft Kinect, the Cornhole board was upgraded with a simple webcam pointed at the sky that sends a live video feed to a laptop running custom code that does its best to extrapolate the position and trajectory of an incoming bag by simply comparing video frames over time. The top of the board is mounted on a set of sliding drawer rails and a pair of electric motors, controlled by an Arduino, reposition the hole based on where the bag is eventually predicted to land.

It’s a strictly two-dimensional approach, and as a result, the motion-tracking isn’t always accurate or fast. It also means players need to be able to toss a bag moderately close to the hole for the upgrades to actually help them score. But using fancier hardware to hack Cornhole just doesn’t seem like it would embody the spirit of the game.