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.