Twitch Plays Bumpkin
Finalist in a Halloween-themed hackathon competition: sumo-wrestling pumpkin robots controlled over the internet by crowd-sourcing platform twitch.tv.
In Twitch Plays Bumpkin, participants compete to be the last pumpkin standing. Players control two competing pumpkins with the goal of either flipping their rivals or pushing their foes out of bounds. Players issue commands to the pumpkins over the Internet using Twitch, in a method similar to Twitch Plays Pokemon. Each pumpkin team consists of many players who all have control over their pumpkin, creating the need for team coordination and strategy. A live stream of the game ensures that the global masses are able to participate in the action.
The idea for Twitch Plays Bumpkin arose from both a desire to fit the hackathon's Halloween theme and to introduce a little hardware flair to a mostly software-focused competition. With a team comprised of of designers, electrical engineers, and developers, we set to work hollowing out pumpkins and attaching them to modified remote control chassis, which provided locomotion and the hardware for steering. A Raspberry Pi interfaced with the remote control by driving MOSFETs, which were wired to the circuit boards of the original transmitter. To demo the system we had designed and built, we held a public competition and allowed anyone to control the pumpkin bots via a live twitch.tv stream. Hilarity, and the the video below, ensued.
(To make sure that none of the pumpkin went to waste, we also brought a toaster oven and roasted pumpkin seeds for hackathon participants.)