Wed. Nov 20th, 2019

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Real Pinball Played Over the Internet

When we last featured SurrogateTV earlier this month, they had come up with an amazing project that allows players to race real (miniature) cars against each other over the Internet. As something of a followup, they’re now letting you play their Batman 66 pinball game (in Finland) from the comfort of your own screen — wherever you happen to be.

The obvious solution for controlling such a game would be to rig up a system of solenoids to press the flippers and start button, as well as a linear actuator to pull the plunger back and fling the ball into play. As it turns out, the build could be done in a much simpler manner, and they used a series of relays to actuate each flipper and start button. The ball can actually be launched with a button as well normally, enabling a fourth relay to take care of that necessary action. The relays are hooked up to a Raspberry Pi, which is of course a great go-to when you’re dealing with one-off Internet gizmos.

Players obviously need to be able to actually see what they’re doing, so the playfield is streamed by a GoPro Hero7 Black with a capture card. The video screen used for scores and other images is taken in via an adapter and and another card, letting them morph everything together to fit nicely on players’ screens. Importantly, this interface also allows them to extract scores using image processing, and you can test your skill against other players here!

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Author: Jeremy S. Cook