Automatic pool stick vs. strangers
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I use a glowforge pro for rapid prototyping and it's great. You can $500 off a Glowforge pro here:
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An automatic pool playing robot - how hard could it be? Turns out harder than I thought. It took me quite a while to work through all the difficulties of this project but when it all finally came together is so worth it. To my surprise the most interesting aspect of this project is using the cue to play real games of pool over the internet. Let me know if you think twitch plays billiards would be worthwhile...

Commenti: 29 433
  • SmarterEveryDay

    Meat servo cheats... (By the way you should totally support Shane on Patreon, like I do: )

    • Peter Panda
      Peter Panda

      No I'm not.

    • Swaraj Tilekar
      Swaraj Tilekar


    • Joseph Kasler
      Joseph Kasler

      Are you located in ohio too

    • Joseph Kasler
      Joseph Kasler

      Are you located in ohio too

  • Alexandre Chappel
    Alexandre Chappel

    Man your concept of "easy" is slightly different from most other people 😅 fantastic build, I really enjoyed watching ☺️

    • Aiden Barnes
      Aiden Barnes

      If you get confused then yes it’s “easy” lol

    • Valentine Taylor
      Valentine Taylor

      "It's easy. Just use linear algebra!"

    • TheTranq

      Hey Alex!

  • slim Large
    slim Large

    As a legal professional in a large tech company I work with many engineers. You guys are a different breed. Tons of admiration.

    • David Mueller
      David Mueller

      @ShyGuy3101 it’s possible Rey Chen is an engineer. They can be socially awkward & often cannot differentiate literal & figurative language. A good friend of mine is an engineer & I call him Literal Larry! His actual name is Paul.

    • dot

      @Wrong Frequency come on dude

    • Wrong Frequency
      Wrong Frequency

      He might be smart yet horrible in the art of seduction.

    • ShyGuy3101

      @Ray Chen Hes talking about engineers in general

    • Ray Chen
      Ray Chen

      You guys? This is just one guy in a basement

  • hafiz alwi
    hafiz alwi

    As an engineer, your video simply compile the whole engineering degree in 20 minutes XD

    • عبد العزيز اليزيدي
      عبد العزيز اليزيدي

      the real challenge is to implement them in a project I guess

    • Michael

      Honestly, it's many engineering disciplines.

  • Aidy Madd
    Aidy Madd

    The next level for this has to be an Auto Robot that can move around the table independently and position the cue where it needs to be for the optimum shot. Take the human out of the equation altogether, just an idea......

  • FrostDeezAKA

    I love how he goes to make one thing and comes out with multiple other things. He sets out to make an aimbot pool stick, and gets a rip off hologram aim assist pool table, an anti aimbot pool stick/mode, and an online casino version of pool XD

  • Clarity Piano
    Clarity Piano

    Would be so cool if there were two tables built separate from each other. You could take it a step farther than online pool: make your shot at table 1 with your normal stick, table 2 robot stick replicates it. Then your opponent uses their normal cue on table 2 and your robot stick replicates it, etc. The challenge for the robot would not be winning the game, it would be accurately analyzing and replicating a human shot to achieve an identical ball placement. Or you could play against the AI with varying levels of difficulty.

  • Nahom

    I love how he casually invented three or four groundbreaking things.. RESPECT!

  • Adam Schodron
    Adam Schodron

    You may have just invented the best pool training system that bars and pool halls would buy. All you need is the software, the camera, and the projector. This is awesome!

  • Stibe

    As a somewhat decent pool player it was very interesting to watch this. I was wondering how certain basic pool principles (i.e. deflection caused by sidespin, spin transfer etc.) were taken into consideration, but only focusing on center ball hits took care of most of that. The cue seemed to hit very well through the cue ball, which makes it go straight reliably.

  • JD's Variety Channel - Treasure Quest Chronicles
    JD's Variety Channel - Treasure Quest Chronicles

    I have no problem admitting this guy is much smarter than I.

    • D.R. Recon242 ツ
      D.R. Recon242 ツ

      Same 😂

    • The Dank Dev
      The Dank Dev

      @Winston Smith So by your logic, steroids make you more intelligent?

    • Calaabo

      @kiwi who are you replying to? Lol

    • kiwi

      That implies that you have problems with admitting that someone else is smarter than you. That's weird. If they're smarter, not admitting it won't make them dumber. It'll definitely make you look stupid though.

  • abhyudit gupta
    abhyudit gupta

    My respect for mechatronics has increased significantly now. Amazing. Proud to be a engineer.

  • Garrett Uffelman
    Garrett Uffelman

    This was really cool, Shane! Thank you for inspiring me to keep improving as a developer.

  • Mike Smith
    Mike Smith

    "I want to be unencumbered.", as he drags the cables across the table. Seriously though, the engineering that went into it is amazing. I, being a (mediocre) pool player, learned a good deal from this.

  • Alan Klenk
    Alan Klenk

    Hey, awesome! I've played pool for most of my life (40+ years). I look forward to seeing you apply english, top and draw. Just make sure you shape and roughern the tip of the cue (should be approximately the radius of a nickel). Also, be sure to chalk before your robot attempts to apply any of that spin; otherwise, you'll miscue. Although I know how to clear a table, there's NO WAY I could come up with a robot to do what you did - nice!!!!

    • Jengodji Gates
      Jengodji Gates

      As a pool player wanna see them updates for cue ball play

  • Calvin Poole
    Calvin Poole

    “This is probably the most complex project that I’ve ever done” seems like he says this every video. That’s probably why they’re so great.

    • Bleak5170

      I was going to say the same thing! Seems like he says it every time. Then I watched the video and I think this time I 100% agree with him.

    • Shawn White
      Shawn White

      @Beef4Dinner22 exactly. I would love to see more of what he is doing, I know I could learn a ton just by watching him work.

    • Vinícius de A Batista
      Vinícius de A Batista

      He Will eventually solve world hunger, I swear da

    • aaron Bets
      aaron Bets

      I litterally read this comment as he was saying it.... He read your comment to me.

  • Pink _Minecart
    Pink _Minecart

    "This is where ball spin becomes useful and I pretty much ignored it" LOLOL This was such a great video. I am an avid pool shooter and was fascinated! You were correct to ignore english and side spin. Even draw and follow shots. That would change so many things from the ground up...

  • dcamron46

    Amazing engineering skills and so true how many problems arise! I experience this all the time at work. Great video, great skills, great story!

  • Domia Abr Wyrda
    Domia Abr Wyrda

    This is like, one of the most complex diy stuff I have ever seen, well done!

  • Glitch Xero
    Glitch Xero

    I had envisioned an arm fastened to the ceiling joists that would take the shot without you having to hold the cue, but this way is probably not just cheaper and easier, but more fun as well.

  • Trumpatier

    This man did hundreds of hours of engineering and programming, make a whole freaking WEBSITE, and has masterful editing and animations in this video??? This is absolute top-notch quality and dedication sir. This channel will be at 10 million subs in no time!!!

    • Trumpatier

      @Tyler B Seriously? Wow... I'm even more in awe!

    • Tyler B
      Tyler B

      Don't forget about the full-time job as an Site lead, Engineer, and software engineer.

    • Leigh C
      Leigh C

      @Josen No yeah

    • Leigh C
      Leigh C

      @Josen No yep

    • Leigh C
      Leigh C

      @Josen No yes

  • Mark

    Absolutely amazing the work and preservice you did to achieve everything. Great job on the video as well.

  • Lohan Van Zyl
    Lohan Van Zyl

    Great video and even better engineering !!! Love your work Shane ❤️

  • 𝙎𝙎𝙇 Ӽ Andy🔥.
    𝙎𝙎𝙇 Ӽ Andy🔥.

    Man I wish I could be like you some day to be able to combine programming, physics, engineering and sheer brain power to make something so cool, I'm learning coding right now, but I so wanna get to a level like you, it looks so appealing. Keep making these awesome vids, what you make is insane!!!

  • Aheront

    As a legal professional in a large tech company I work with many engineers. You guys are a different breed. Tons of admiration.

  • John Frigo
    John Frigo

    we dont deserve the amount of effort this man puts into his videos

    • 2MJZ

      @ManOpeace that was very cheesy

    • CJmk3supra

      @2MJZ omg I’m weak 😭🤣🤣

    • Rob Belv
      Rob Belv

      @Tommy2cats and this guy does EVERYTHING himself.

  • UltraRex030609

    Much respect for you buddy. Love watching this stuff.

  • Mistao Wickkuh
    Mistao Wickkuh

    5:10 is too perfect! I love this energy!

  • youths on pitch
    youths on pitch

    Hats off to you and your dedication..... truely inspired. Love from Nepal

  • Grat

    I would love to see a more technical video of you going through the code and the processes you used in order to code this algorithm. I want to build a similar project of identifying cups and locations for another robot to move them. I am an engineering college student at Alabama and I would absolutely love to learn more about your coding and how you learned to code so well.

  • SvenGlueckspilz

    If a team of twenty people did this, I would be impressed. But the fact that you could figure out all these different aspects of this complex problem by yourself is just crazy. You are a genius!

    • SvenGlueckspilz

      @Jason Quigley Ok I don't have an engineering degree, so I can't tell. Maybe this is all typical stuff that you learn as an engineer. Being a mathematician, this is hard to imagine for me. My math education was more like diving deep into a few topics and just mathematics and a little bit of physics. Nothing else. But engineering is naturally an interdisciplinary subject I guess, so with that in mind, it makes sense what you say.

    • SvenGlueckspilz

      @Jevon Mao I think he just wanted to say that you need all that other stuff to solve engineering problems and it is sort of implied when you speak of engineering, that you have to do all this other stuff. However I had to list those to make the point that it is a broad variety of knowledge that you need.

    • Marcello

      @Jevon Mao yes... thats what Im saying. "engineering" already entails everything else he listed. If I say im a mathematician, you wouldnt know if I know anything about chemistry or computers, but if I say im an engineer, then its a given that i understand physics to an extent etc.

    • Mantis Toboggan
      Mantis Toboggan

      @Dżarek haha I love that saying because it’s my company’s approach to every project and it’s always “late” 🙄 but honestly this could easily be parallelized for most of it and yeah I do think a 4-5 person team that can work well together would probably be the most efficient, so each person can break off each part and focus/test it (sw, ee, me, oe, and maybe an architect/integration engineer). Because if everyone knew at the start to design a projection system that also has a camera, the mechanical device he makes for the end and how they will control it (microcontroller) this project could definitely be broken into smaller sub modules and would likely be faster - but that preplanning is crucial and why an architect might help accelerate it. It seems like he does that stuff fast but when he says he spends weeks just doing the debug part, that’s where more people drastically decrease the time (plus planning the testing of each part would’ve caught this). That’s a ton of work for one person and I think it’s unrealistic to think one person can match the output of many more unless it is a super simple project (which this really isn’t). It’s not rocket science but it’s also a lot of just elbow grease to grind through all the work/man-hours to make this

    • Dżarek

      @Mantis Toboggan So.. What you are saying is that 9 women can deliver baby in one month. :) Not everything can be parralelized. The communication overhead is huge. The size of the project usually depends not on the actual size of problem, but on how many people you will get to do it. In this particular case 2 people is maximum probably before implementation will slow down.

  • Lost Jewelz Entertainment
    Lost Jewelz Entertainment

    The skillset is unreal. Not only do you do engineering, but complex computer programming as well? this is insane

  • T

    Amazing mix of engineering, programming and tons of patience! Also enough experience with loosing

  • Bryson Whitesides
    Bryson Whitesides

    I have an idea for this. What if you put a second camera on the side of the table to track the vertical alignment of the tip? Then you could have more control over topspin and backspin. In theory it would be easier to program than the shot alignment algorithm.

  • WhatDaFunkUS

    I would love to play this with friends! Lol. Awesome idea especially when you may be far away from the friends that you used to play Pool with all the time and have not been able to for a long time due to life. Awesome game and ingenuity!

  • malloott

    His persistence, not just his intellect is what makes him extremely talented, the dude does not seem to give up ever.

    • Karl with a K
      Karl with a K

      @Johann smith I believe you are trying to reference a previous video where he tried to avoid writing a USB driver but then did and it worked perfectly. Fact is, winners win and losers try to justify losing by saying you should "give up" (your words).

    • Johann smith
      Johann smith

      @Karl with a K the dood even spent 10 hours all nighter to try to use usb on a broken chip instead of buying a new one, stating it was a mistake to do that. Thus he learned from his compulsive mistake to not quit. Ok prom boy

    • Johann smith
      Johann smith

      @Karl with a K haha what are you like 17

    • zZE94

      Hey to be honest, we only see those videos of his where he succeeds. We don't see his "failures".

  • Vlad

    Amazing work, just discovered your channel and it’s awesome, keep going)

  • Billy Barton
    Billy Barton

    Absolutely astounded by your engineering skills.

  • Anesio Henrique
    Anesio Henrique

    You have to create a teacher table, with the same algorithms that will project on the table where your stick needs to be to hit the ball. So actually you do everything but, it points where you have to hit the other ball.

  • Tork man70
    Tork man70

    Man, you're my tech making stuff idol dude now! Just blows me away.

  • techydiy

    That was 42 minutes 36 seconds of my life well spent (I watched it twice)

    • Daniel Nelson
      Daniel Nelson

      He learned math in only two watchings of this video! (21:18 x 2) Absolutely astonishing!

    • Yo Pappy
      Yo Pappy

      Honestly if this were a tv show it would’ve been two episodes and in the end they would’ve failed. It’s actually pretty cool he crammed this project into a 22min video.

    • Yo Pappy
      Yo Pappy

      @Great Lakes Logger 😂

    • Great Lakes Logger
      Great Lakes Logger

      I'm just waiting for that one guy to challenge your math

  • Austin Campbell
    Austin Campbell

    That was intense, I love fixing appliances and messing around with DC circuit boards, I wish I could understand more about programming and understand how they work.... Definitely gunna follow, hope you do something with Lego or if you already have let me know I'd love to check it out

  • Mantas

    I would just love projecting lines real time on my pool table! I have a couple projectors even! Where could I get some open source version of this? :D

  • Jorge Ramon Ramirez Saenz
    Jorge Ramon Ramirez Saenz

    very impressed! great engineering skills mate!

  • Tulakian

    This is by far my favourite video you've made. Awesome work

  • Le Derp
    Le Derp

    Jesus, this guy is the most dedicated engineer/programmer I know of. The amount of work for getting it from almost working to actually working as intended is absolutely painful. What a mad lad.

    • Adam Norman
      Adam Norman

      Imagine being a programming professor in charge of a 6 month final project where 5 students have to make a fully functioning product that could be sold to a customer... The amount of headache suffered from sorting through all the spaghetti and halfassedry is nauseating. And then when they start editing each others code because they don't like the way it looks is the cherry on top. *peels own face off*

    • Kelly Moses
      Kelly Moses

      He must use a lot of Adderall and/or Provigil.

    • Aha Ha
      Aha Ha

      Always fun to watch good engineering :)

    • The TinyURL Guy
      The TinyURL Guy

      Martin Molin MMX: Hold my marbles.

  • Karl Mahlmann
    Karl Mahlmann

    This is completely bizarre and amazing. The engineering is right up there with a Mars lander.

  • Brian Thompson
    Brian Thompson

    This is amazing and your videos are awesome. Did you ever end up doing more work re: looking ahead and trying to control cue spin?

  • Daddy Cris
    Daddy Cris

    it amazes me how incredibly smart this man is... it really blows my mind🤯

  • Mubbasher Khanzada
    Mubbasher Khanzada

    Wow! This is soooo coooool Let the games begin. Simply brilliant :)

  • alezcoed

    "but eventually you run out of stuff that can be wrong" my new motivational line

    • Joshua Brenton
      Joshua Brenton

      A bot copied u

    • hxhdfj ifzir st c
      hxhdfj ifzir st c

      Determination and problem solving lead to success. All the way up to putting men on the Moon... or more. Your choice. Go.

    • Sri Raghav Tanikella
      Sri Raghav Tanikella

      i’m liking it to a 1000

    • Cameron Jago Lis
      Cameron Jago Lis

      Unless you’re a game developer...😅

    • Evil_ Daimyoe
      Evil_ Daimyoe

      @zhod epstein?

  • bombayldm

    This is incredible. The amount of work :D

  • Devonte Wright
    Devonte Wright

    This guy is like “it’s pretty simple” and then says some genius stuff that would take me another life time to figure out haha. Great content. I have subscribed haha

  • Sleev

    Amazing. Honestly my favorite part is just the projector over the pool table though 😹

  • MrElPoderozo1

    Youngman you can consider yourself a genius for real. Great work👍🏽


    On today’s episode of “can you believe people are this wildly intelligent” a man makes a thing that would’ve taken me several years in like a month or whatever

    • Lamarr Otems
      Lamarr Otems

      @Mo. Amine Damiri but he's wrong. It's a huge accomplishment and he wrote the code by hand. This isn't plug and play - otherwise everyone would do it. Not impossible at all, but a huge achievement

    • Hitler Senpai
      Hitler Senpai


    • Big Draco
      Big Draco

      @Stay EZ My Friends if this isn’t something that’s hard to do then why don’t you do it and post a video about it??

  • Juda_n

    You legit put so much effort into your videos, I’m amazed🙌

  • Zozo Dagon
    Zozo Dagon

    12:35 you basically made a virtual billiards coach. I'd love to see a full fledged version of that. I got some ideas if you wanna talk shop

  • christopher welsh
    christopher welsh

    Pool is art. I hope it is never mastered by science, but It was fun watching you try! Great work and a great video!

  • C. Enrique
    C. Enrique

    Man you’re great :’) Thanks for sharing all your ideas !!

  • Bryant Jordan
    Bryant Jordan

    I don’t think we fully understand how inexpressibly difficult this is, and the brainpower it requires. This man is an actual genius.

    • philo cleandes
      philo cleandes

      This is crazy fucking genius.

    • James Harnett
      James Harnett

      @NovusIgnis Robots may be better at a bunch of bullshit, but they will never be truly superior to man.

    • Adam J
      Adam J

      @MarredCheese i agree, also the fact that even if the project does fail it would still make entertaining youtube vid. Takes the pressure off and lets him go with the flow of his creativity

    • AddHemlockForFlavor

      @NovusIgnis of course there are plenty of post stating that this isn't that hard to do. there are also plenty of posts claiming the World is Flat or we didn't actually go to the Moon. Anyone can say whatever they want that doesn't mean it's accurate. Do you just believe random things you read? However there have been quite a few engineers, you know people who would actually have experience, saying this is hard to recreate. So you're just going to believe random people who also don't have experience because it matches up with what you believe instead of believing people who you know are actually engineers and would be able to know if this is hard or not

    • Cameron Hill
      Cameron Hill

      @NovusIgnis I can tell you don't understand basic coding or mathematics because there is so much involved in this that it would take an entire team of experts and lots of funding to just to make the stick know where the ball is and move the end in the wright place.

  • Todd Thompson
    Todd Thompson

    At first i kinda thought this guy was just going to be a big tool. But he has really impressed me and i feel like he deserves the attention hes getting. Keep it up man youve slready taught me a lot!

  • KitCat

    I love how he says that he wants to play pool the way it was meant to be played while he's making a pool robot

  • Niels Andersen
    Niels Andersen

    I am impressed. How long did it take to build this? The combination of camera, projection, and software is genius. It show the power of these devices. A camera has millions of sensors and a projector has millions of "actuators". The robotic arm is impressive as well, but the camera/projector combination is the key invention.

  • Peter Batemon
    Peter Batemon

    "The robot is not your kid, we talked about this." Hilarious.

  • NoobPilot831

    As an engineer I am amazed by how many disciplines this spans. You truly are doing work that a company would take months to do.

    • Bernd Jendrissek
      Bernd Jendrissek

      Months because besides the actually necessary engineering, there will be meetings upon meetings upon meetings that are just rehashes of what had already been decides and/or is obvious to anyone actually producing anything (besides meeting reports and Gantt charts). And often too, even the people actually producing the product will be coasting or goofing off. You just don't work as hard when it's someone else's project.

    • SirPogsalot

      @Hisoka Amorou hahahahaha "cheap" "diy" "real products"

    • SirPogsalot

      ikr, if he designed a flying car I would be the first to test drive it

    • Görkem Öçmen
      Görkem Öçmen

      That's why this dude is a one person company xD

  • Moto154

    Could we get more info on the physics simulation aspect? How did you account for various spins on the ball and how that relates to the q ball's spin and where the q ball impacts the other balls? Additionally, how were slipping and determining how far the ball rolls determined?


    Man bro I got to give you props I'm glad I ran across this. First you mastered playing pool without learning how to play pool. THAT'S GENIUS. BUT THIS IS JUST THE BEST GEEK SAUCE YOU COULD PUT ON ANY IDEA. The overlays, the stick helicopter style servos was the best. GREAT VIDEO.

  • Toby Raspin
    Toby Raspin

    So after watching this and being very impressed with what you achieved would it be possible to develop some sort of glasses that would show you the trajectory of the balls when playing your shots

  • Chance

    10:00 I never expected words spoken about a robotic, 100% accuracy pool-stick would hit me so deep..

  • Brian Whitney
    Brian Whitney

    This is some of the best engineering, data science, fabrication combo I’ve ever seen. There’s probably only a handful of people in the world that could do this. Major props to you!



    • Biggmakk Official
      Biggmakk Official

      Im actually impressed lol

    • Milaan Patel
      Milaan Patel

      @Eliot Mansfield and that to at such a young age

    • Eliot Mansfield
      Eliot Mansfield

      yeh i’m blown away with what he’s done here

  • Dan Ogden
    Dan Ogden

    Great build. While adding that forward-looking "chess engine", maybe include one that takes into account combination shots, maybe even trick shots?

  • __

    I'm only ~5 min in but man. The way this thing moves is uncanny as hell and so damn cool.

  • Mike Nodine
    Mike Nodine

    I'm stunned, amazed, and knocked out cold by this video! Your intelligence and mastery of engineering and technology my friend, is the equivalent of a heavyweight boxer, a Jack Johnson, Muhmmed Ali, or Mike Tyson in their prime! This is the first video of yours that I have seen, but you definitely earned a like and subscribe from me! I have shopped at Mircocenter since around the late 1980's I think, when they first opened a store near Atlanta. I'll use your links from now on when I shop there.

  • L W
    L W

    note to myself: If I would ever build an automatic pool stick, invest in a good pool table

  • Iffy50

    I'm a mechanical engineer and I think I'm pretty good at figuring out stuff like this. You are light years ahead of me. I can follow what you are doing, but if I had to do it all myself I would be completely overwhelmed even with all the concepts thrown at my feet. You are a complete genius. You must be in the top 0.001% of people to do things like this. It's an honor just to watch.

    • Michael Baker
      Michael Baker

      @Agustin Repetto just because alot more people are capable of figuring it out if they studied doesn't mean you get to include them in saying they are just as smart. If you told everyone to design what he just did then I guarentee you only .001% would of done it.

    • Rumperdumper

      @OTOPHILA squadsquadsquadsquadsquad


      Im dumb.

    • Greg Grimes
      Greg Grimes

      Totally. I’m also a mechanical engineer with another year of CS on top of that and this dude is brilliant. As well as brilliant he has the determination to beat these problems to death until he solves each of the actual solutions until it’s refined to a working model. Props man!

    • Pabmyster

      @Agustin Repetto if you're argument is that people can be as smart or smarter than he is, sure. Everyone has potential to develop their skills and intellectual enrichment is most often related to how hard someone works to achieve such. But the claim was that he is just a cut above the rest at was his abilities allow him to do currently. Does someone else have the potential to do similar things? Sure. But nobody else is currently doing things to this scale on their own, or else we would see it.

  • Expired Lamb
    Expired Lamb

    Very nice project. I am working on something similar that requires knowing the position of the balls, and when they fall into the different holes. Any tips on where I should start?

  • 袁远

    Very interesting! I like this video. You can take a further step on choosing the hitting point on the cue ball.

  • Justin Baskerville
    Justin Baskerville

    My new favorite channel to watch gonna tell everyone I know about your content.. thanks for all you do

  • Scott Young
    Scott Young

    You’re awesome. Destin is awesome. You and Destin together is more awesome. Destin calling you a meat servo is the awesomest.