|67||ChessExpress: The Voice-Controlled, Automatic Chessboard
Adithya Rajan (adithya2), Dean Biskup (dbiskup2)
There are many people who would like to play chess with players online, but would prefer not to stare at a screen and utilize online chess interfaces, instead preferring a physical board. Some people may also want to play on a physical board but cannot physically interact with the board and it's pieces due to disability.
# Solution Overview
We propose an automatic chessboard that can move the pieces automatically using an electromagnet and stepper motors, with WiFi capability that can allow it to connect with another board anywhere in the world. The board will also have speech recognition capabilities that allow a player to move pieces on the board with simple commands such as “A5 to D2.” This will be our primary method of input into the board. We do not plan on implementing more complex speech recognition, such as “knight to e5” or “a2… no, sorry, a3 to d3”, in the interest of keeping things feasible.
# Solution Components
## Existing Design
This project is a continuation of a project from ECE 395. As the project exists currently, it has a physical board (⅛” acrylic) with an electromagnet running underneath the board that is able to move a piece from one square to another. The board has no knowledge of the game “chess”, and only moves things from one (x,y) position to another. Also, the movement needs to be made more consistent, as the magnet tends to "drop" pieces while moving in the current iteration of the design, with no error detection systems. Additionally, there is currently no WiFi or microphones/speech recognition subsystems on the board, and the project currently requires a PC to do all of the logic before sending very basic commands to a microcontroller controlling the motors. We would like to change the microprocessor to a beefier one so that our solution can be self contained, and does not require an external PC connection. We also need to create a PCB incorporating all the components, as right now the basic circuit is just on a breadboard.
## Movement Subsystem
The movement subsystem involves motors and electromagnets. There are two stepper motors that move the electromagnet in the Y direction, and one that moves it in the X direction. The electromagnet will move to position itself under the piece that needs to be moved. Once it is in position, the electromagnet will be powered up and will attract the piece towards it. Then it will drag the piece on the board to its desired X-Y position, before de-energizing.
## Voice Command Subsystem
The voice-command subsystem will consist of at least a microphone. It will take in speech signals and provide them to the processor, which will do basic speech recognition, or send it out to an online library/speech recognition service through the WiFi subsystem for processing.
## WiFi Subsystem
This system allows the board to connect to the internet (using an ESP8266 or ESP32 board), enabling functionality to play with other people around the world or send speech signals out to an external speech processing service.
# Criterion for Success
This chessboard will allow for basic chess games using voice control, over the internet. The piece movement will be consistent (no pieces will fail to move to their destination). The board will also know the rules of chess as to prevent illegal moves from being performed.
# Commercial Solutions
There is a commercial solution that is very similar to ours in that it is an automatically moving chessboard that allows for online play ([SquareOff](https://squareoffnow.com/). Where our project differentiates from SquareOff is the capability for voice commands, allowing players to play without physically interacting with the board.