Practice Your Service Return With This Arduino-Powered Automatic Ping-Pong Ball Machine


alex_photoSan Mateo resident Alexander Sorokin is Director of Data Science at crowdsourcing service provider CrowdFlower, and has a doctorate in computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was born in Russia and took an undergraduate degree from Moscow University before moving to the US in 2004. His hobbies include chess and table tennis, and he’s developed a couple interesting Arduino-based gadgets to help him hone his skills.

MF14BA_Badge-01Shown here, an automatic ping-pong ball machine prototype Sorokin built using an Arduino microcontroller and a number of VEX Robotics Design System components. The robot features a ball bin, hopper, and dual friction-wheel design not unlike commercial serving machines for tennis and squash. Sorokin has also developed a special chess timer for the popular four-handed, two-board Bughouse variant.


I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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