Raspberry Pi Fore!
Does your golf game need a little help? If so, a robotic caddy recently built by YouTuber Nick O'Hara might be able to up your game. Or maybe not… but at least it will provide you with a nearly endless source of entertainment.
The golf bag can be controlled either by a remote control, or by voice commands. When using voice commands, you can either ask for a specific club, or tell it how far you are from the hole, and give information about wind and elevation, and the bag will select the most appropriate club for you.
A Raspberry Pi handles most of the functions, and sends commands over I2C to an Arduino that controls the beefy motor that rotates the clubs in the bag.
A microswitch is used to determine the position that the clubs are in during rotation, and when the desired club is lined up with the air cylinder, which is extended by 120 PSI provided by an air compressor. This launches the clubs into the air in a predictable arc for the golfer to catch.
To keep things working consistently, the aforementioned microswitch system was implemented rather than the perhaps more obvious choice of a stepper motor. When using a stepper, O'Hara was finding an error of plus or minus four degrees, which caused drift over time.
By instead counting “clicks” on the microswitch, it was possible to ensure that the clubs were always in a precisely known position after rotation. He also ran into issues with keeping the clubs in a stable position, and preventing them from banging into one another. This issue was solved by 3D printing a piece that attaches to the end of the club handles, which allows them to lock into a stable position in the bag.
If this over-the-top robotic caddy does not help your game as you might hope, then at least it can also launch you another ball after you hit the first into a sand trap.
And if things continue to get out of hand, the caddy can turn into a bartender and launch you a can of your favorite beverage to ease your mind. If not useful, this golf bag is definitely still an interesting bit of engineering, so be sure to check out the video of the build in action.