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Knights of the Electromagnetic Table

Wizard's Chess in Harry Potter is the enchanted variant of the classic board game in which the pieces move of their own accord when commanded by the player. In this version for Principles of Engineering, the team built a version of Wizard's chess where the pieces move by voice activation. 

There are many systems involved in the game that interact with each other to make the pieces move. The brains of the operation is the python code that controls the model with game logic. The laptop running this code connects to a mic that records a command, and the code processes the command and checks it against chess rules. If the command is correct, a set of instructions is sent to an Arduino via pySerial.

The Arduino is connected to a circuit that controls the motors and the electromagnet. The electromagnet is connected via a transistor which lets us use the Arduino as a switch for the magnet, turning it off and on. The motors are connected through a Arduino motor shields to a voltage regulator for power. The motors mechanically connect to two pulleys respectively, which pull timing belts. The belts carry a carriage with the electromagnet, forming a two-axis gantry with a magnet that we turn off and on. The gantry and magnet are thus able to pull chess pieces (which in turn have small magnets within them) across the chessboard.  You can find out more here.