For those that live in the United States, Thanksgiving has recently come and gone, perhaps leaving you with an extra pound or two and several weeks worth of turkey sandwiches. Traditionally the turkey is cooked, carved by a member of the celebrating family, then this and various complimentary dishes are passed around by hand. Wishing to apparently change this tradition, William Osman — adorned in a wobbly turkey hat — instead built, not one, but three robots to serve Thanksgiving dinner in conveyor belt sushi-like fashion.
The robots themselves are fairly simple, using an Arduino Nano for control, along with a pair of what appear to be infrared sensors to detect a black line. This apparatus then follows a line drawn on a paper “tablecloth” at the table where Osman and friends are eating, allowing the device to follow the circuit with a plate bearing turkey or “fixins.” As he notes in the video, the code for these robots consists of 20 lines, illustrating that line-followers are definitely an approachable robotics project.
On the other hand, in typical Osman style, the setup isn’t sufficiently advanced enough to keep the turkey — cooked here by Allen Pan using liquid nitrogen — on its designated line. Serving issues aside, it appears that all four of the dinner participants were entertained and/or frustrated, making for a holiday none of them will soon forget!