What started as an offhand joke about making the office foosball table keep score automatically turned into a journey that would result in a laser-powered wireless foosball scoreboard and a lasting interest in hobbyist electronics. I even ended up presenting a demo of the scoreboard (complete with foosball table) at the Ottawa and Toronto Mini Maker Faires.
The scoreboard was my first real foray into Arduino and embedded electronics. It went through many different adjustments and iterations as I learned more and more about what I wanted to do and what was possible.
Over the course of a year or two the project went from a cobbled together rats nest of wires, perfboard, and solder with an Arduino or two loosely wired in, to a custom PCB with its own AVR microcontroller, LED controllers, and a newer, faster, better wireless chip (nRF24l01+).
And the lasers? Well the scoreboard has two units – a main receiver which hangs over the table and displays the score, and a transmitter which is attached to the underside of the table. The transmitter has two laser diodes and light sensors connected which form tripwires past the two goal areas. When a point is scored the ball runs through the tripwire, the light sensor registers the momentary drop, and the transmitter board sends a signal to the receiver where it registers a point on the displays.