I help teach a design class where we have a semester project/competition every semester. The most popular one is the robot contest where each team gets to build their own small remote controlled robot. I get to build/modify the area
I built the main part of the arena a few years ago, as you might notice two of the corners have an 18" circular section that spins and two of the corners flip up. This was all done with surplus windshield wiper motors. The puck dropper in the middle is new for this semester, all the wooden parts manufactured on a CarveWright machine. It holds 24 pucks which are 1" slices of 2" poplar dowel rod. The mechanism rotates the shutter (large gear) with a smaller wooden gear that is driven by a small stepper motor. It is rotated at random times and will drop 1 or 2 pucks each time. The pucks hit the cone and then roll all over the place.
Currently the control is PC based and used a DAQ board to trigger solid state relays (on an old Opto22 SSR rack) and a Phidgets stepper driver was used for the puck dropper. I’m thinking that a new FEZ based control should be made that way there is not the big hassles with all the cables and what not for the DAQ + Phidgets boards. The question now is a FEZ Tinkerer kit or Spider? Either method would allow for a stand alone controller that could be network connected so we can have a remote display and/or control of the field.