Borzu Talaie, Ruzette Tanyag, Ryan Maksymic of Toronto’s OCAD University created the Connect4000, an Arduino controlled, web-connected Connect 4 robot that can be commanded by two players using phones or PCs connected to a web site.
The electronics controlling the game board are quite simple. An Arduino equipped with an ethernet shield checks the website for data and then actuates the motors accordingly. The ethernet shield’s MAC address is registered under the OCADU network to ensure that we can easily connect to the internet. Both servos are directly controlled from digital pins, as are the seven timer LEDs. The solenoid caused us some problems. It seemed to be drawing a large amount of current, so a transistor switch was implemented to source current right from a power adapter. It also got very hot during operation, sometimes melting the glue holding it in place; we reversed the direction of the solenoid to reduce the amount of time it would be turned on. Lastly, if too many marbles were pushing against the solenoid pin, it would give way and begin releasing them. This was remedied by carefully optimizing the spacing between the solenoid and the marble shelf. The final circuit was assembled on a perf board and attached with the Arduino to the back of the game board.