Institute for

Connect Four - Game Robot

Based on the table game "Connect 4" a cost-optimized robot was designed, which can be displayed at exhibitions and information events. The project of developing an interactive "Connect 4" robot was realized by three HSR students as part of their semester and bachelor thesis.


The developed "Connect 4" robot system not only provides a visual representation on the smartphone but a real "Connect 4" game in large format, which is fully automatically operated by the robot. The robot plays along every move simultaneously with a tablet PC or smartphone.

Set up

The tokens are double-sided, one side is yellow, the other side red. The tokens are moved by the robot. The robot combines a playing board, a handling module and a lift. The handling module includes a tooth belt axis, a rotary module and a customized gripper. The lift is responsible for the storage and the upward transportation of the token to their starting position. For safety reasons, the entire robot is surrounded by a housing that has rollers mounted for easier transportation. The robot consists of two central controllers. A server contains the web interface via W-Lan and the game logics while a Siemens PLC controls the robotic process.

Game process

After entering a turn from the tablet or smartphone a token is taken out of the lift by the handling module, turned to the right colored side and inserted in the appropriate column. The recognition of the token’s color is conducted by means of a photocell and an asymmetrically arranged groove along the lateral surface of the token.

The game is won when four token of the same color are vertically, horizontally or diagonally aligned. The robot highlights the four corresponding tokens in red or yellow and thus indicates which player won the game.

When the game is over, the tokens fall through a slider below the playing board and are automatically returned to the lift. The robot now is ready for a new game.

Requirements of the “Connect 4” robot:

  • Can be displayed at fairs and exhibitions
  • Provide a good example of interdisciplinary student work across the departments of Mechanical, Electrical and Software engineering
  • Play against the robot or a second player
  • Provide different levels of difficulty
  • Minimize the cost of production by usage of standard components and reduce development costs, time and risks

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