The inspiration for this project came from the fictional chess board Wizards' Chess featured multiple times within the Harry Potter fantasy book series. In Wizards' Chess, the game is played by vocalizing commands to the board (e.g. "Knight to E5!"), and the pieces move magically to their destination. It was clear early on that a chess engine would be a necessary component of the project, as well as a module for speech recognition. It was also desired that the board support one- and two-player modes and include varying difficulty levels, as an actual chess program would. Progressively, the rest of the design fell into place after branching out from there. The pieces would be moved by an electromagnet underneath the board, which would be operated by an X-Y stage not unlike those found in machine shops and vending machines. A small computer would be necessary to run the speech recognition component and the chess engine. Additionally, it would be necessary to have a microcontroller and custom PCB to control the stepper motors responsible for the motion of the board. Thus, a high-level design for Magic Chess was created. This project was graciously funded by Soartech.
Haley Jane Amason is a senior at the University of Central Florida and will be graduating with a Bachelor's of Science in Electrical Engineering in May of 2013. She currently works at Universal Studios Orlando on the Reliability Centered Maintenance team within Technical Services as their Engineering Coordinator. Haley has been working with RCM for almost two years and looks forward to continuing a career in Reliability/Quality Engineering.
Joshua Burbridge is a senior in Computer Engineering at the University of Central Florida, with minors in Mathematics and Secure Computing and Networking. He will be graduating with a B.S. in May 2013. His immediate future plans are to begin the Computer Engineering MS program at UCF. His research interests include Algorithm Design, Bioinformatics, and Computational Complexity.
Brittany Nottingham is graduating in May 2013 with a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering. Her interest in electrical engineering began in high school and she has chosen to specialize in power systems. Brittany expects to stay in Orlando upon graduation and plans to work full-time at ABB while completing a graduate program part-time.
Thong Tran is currently a senior at University of Central Florida and will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering. He hopes to pursue a career in game development, and obtain a Masters in Computer Engineering in the future.