First Prototype Summary of Throwing Machine
For our throwing machine, we tentatively plan to use wood and metal rods and screws to assemble a throwing mechanism to help special needed children. These children are a part of a group called “Saturday Sidekicks” that meets on Saturdays near the Sonoma State Gymnasium. They take part in many activities, such as playing games, hitting baseballs, and throwing balls back and forth. Some of the children that are a part of the program are physically disabled and have limited mobility or are in a wheelchair, so they are not able to throw balls like some of their peers. Our intention with this device is to allow these children to participate in games that they would ordinarily not be able to play.
Our device is going to be an electrical and mechanical machine that will have the ability to launch multiple tennis balls at least 10 feet consistently. It will be able to reload balls and be powered with Servo motors and an electrical cord, and possibly batteries. It will have a simple trigger button to allow the handicapped children to be able to independently control the device. The ball will be lobbed into the air at the same angle every time, but the child can control which direction the ball is thrown with a joystick. The thick tube where the tennis ball will be placed will be connected to an adjustable turn-table which can be angled in whichever direction the child likes.
The throwing machine will be portable, easy to assemble, and someone who is handicapped and physically impaired will be able to successfully control the mechanism. An assistant will have to move the machine onto or next to the wheelchair of the child. This machine can be used either inside or outside, as long as it is within the electrical cord’s range. The Servo motor will connect to a tubular device that will shoot the ball into the air. There will be some type of spring that will be pulled back with a lever, and then the child will press a button to release the spring. The Servo motor will be connected to a device that will pull the spring back to where the spring locks in place. After the spring is pulled down and locked in place, once the button on the joystick is pressed, the tennis ball will be hit by the spring, and shot into the air. This summary is a rough idea of our first prototype that we will build. Some changes will most likely be made to this idea, which will be updated when the device is closer to completion. Our expected finish date of our first prototype to be presented to the children is October 29th, 2009.