Roller Derby Hit Tracker
By Tom Igoe
Tom Igoe created a system where XBees track every hit in a roller derby.
“I paired a 3-axis accelerometer module with an XBee radio from Digi. The basic XBee is great for wireless sensing projects; configuration is easy and its onboard inputs mean you don’t need a microcontroler. So, the final part count for each skate module is 3 components and a couple of sockets on a small board. In addition to the skater radios, you’ll need a base radio attached to a computer. I outfitted 3 skaters with radios and set up my laptop to graph the data and play sound effect when the players collided.”
Fun though it is, roller derby is not the only easy application for these XBee radios. You can attach any sensor that outputs voltages up to 3.3V, and control any device with the same input range. They can exchange data from computers and microcontrollers as well. I’ve used them to read remote photovoltaic arrays, make toxic gas sensors, and control mechanical chimps — and my students and colleagues at NYU have gone much further with them.”