Marble-ous is a Rube Goldberg machine-like marble color sorter (it’s quite a mouthful!)

This was an internship through San Diego Miramar College and the California Space Grant Consortium. We presented our project on August 17, 2017 at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

Certificates of achievement

My main role in the project was coding the algorithm to sort the marbles by color. This was done by using an RGB Color Sensor with IR filter and White LED (TCS34725) and 3 small servos. I definitely struggled because this was my first time doing a major programming project. In addition to that, at the time, I had zero experience coding whatsoever.

But I did what I could to learn as much as possible. I gained hands-on experience and learned a lot about using if-else statements and connecting software to hardware. I also got an introduction to I2C communication.

Below is a video of the Marble-ous machine. Unfortunately, we never got footage of it fully working with the servos and the moving elevator chain. However, we didn’t completely lose our marbles! The marbles followed the track well.

Credit to Nicklas Lee for recording this
Left: We made it to NASA JPL!
Right: We hooked up the Arduino and color sensor to a Parallax Development Board
Left: Early photo of building Marble-ous
Right: A close-up of one of the servos that drove the chain elevator
      to transport the marbles to the top of the machine