ECE497 Project - Paper Football

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Team members: Russell Johnson, Griffin Steffy

Executive Summary

The Final Paper Football Game Board

This project consists of creating a paper football game board and adding digital features and automation including scoring, possession, and a jumbotron. Two 7-segment displays are used for the scoring for the Home and Away teams. There is also an LED for each team that will light up in order to indicate who has possession. A switch is used to change possession from one team to another. A jumbotron displays various prompts such as whose turn it is as well as videos pertaining to scoring.

The overall game functions correctly. The switch correctly switches between the home and away teams and lights up the correct LED. The LCD correctly displays prompts for whose turn it is as well as when someone scores. The reset button correctly resets the game. The IR sensors worked fine initially for detecting the footballs; however, over time they seemed to be less and less accurate.

The top IR sensor stopped working entirely towards the end of the project. We are not positive why, but it must have gotten burnt out on accident. We did not have time to order a new part to replace it. As mentioned previously, the other sensors work; however, they seem to be less accurate now than they were were earlier on during the project. We believe that the IR sensors we chose might not have been the best ones.

Overall, the overall hardware design and structure of the game board turned out great. It looks very clean on top of the board. The bottom of the board is a slight mess of wires due to lack of time to devote to cleaning up every single one. The overall functionality of the board is not bad, but it is not perfect. We had many problems with the IR sensors. They seemed to work great with about 95% accuracy early on in our project, but by the end one of them had broken and the other 4 are not as accurate. Issues with our breadboard (internal shorts, etc.) led to many of the issues with the IR sensors.


Parts used for this project:

  • BeagleBone Green Wireless
  • Adafruit 2.4" TFT LCD Display [Part No. ILI9341]
  • Adafruit IR Break Beam Sensors (x5) [Part No. HD-DS25CM-3MM]
  • Adafruit 0.56" 4-Digit 7-Segment Display w/I2C Backpack (x2)
  • A switch
  • A pushbutton
  • 2 LEDs
  • Plenty of wire and shrink wrap
  • Approximately a 2' by 1' flat piece of wood (about 3/4" thick)
  • 6' board that is about 3/4" by 3/4"
  • Wood screws for assembly
  • Yellow, green, white spray paint for aesthetics

Installation Instructions

Getting the Necessary Hardware

Building the Wooden Board

For every screw used to assemble the structure, we recommend pre-drilling a small hole to prevent splitting any of the wood.

First cut 4 equal size 3/4 by 3/4 pieces for the legs.

Photo Oct 29, 2 06 08 PM.jpg

Next Build the field goal.

  • The height of the large vertical posts are around 8"
  • The total width (including side poles) is around 6"
  • The distance between the crossbar and the "Grass" is around 4"
Photo Oct 29, 2 06 25 PM.jpg

Cut the scoreboard and jumbotron posts

  • 2x scoreboard 2" x 3/4" x 3/4"
  • 1x jumbotron 4.5" x 3/4" x 3/4"
Photo Oct 29, 2 06 47 PM.jpg
Photo Oct 29, 2 06 53 PM.jpg

Adding the Components to the Board


Wiring the Components to the BeagleBone


Installing Necessary Libraries

 git clone
 cd ECE434_project
  • Run the script to install all of the necessary Adafruit libraries

User Instructions

How to run the program

 cd ECE343_project
 sudo python



Theory of Operation


Work Breakdown

Project Timeline

Project Timeline.jpg

Major Tasking

Group Work: The following tasks were worked on throughout the course of the project, and completed by the end.

  • Build wooden gameboard
  • Solder extension wires on all components
  • Add shrink wrap on all visible wires to make them look nice
  • Glue components onto the game board
  • Mount a breadboard and the BeagleBone to the bottom of the game board
  • Wire all components to the game board's breadboard

Russell's Individual Work:

  • COMPLETE 11/3 - Create a python script to control the IR sensors
  • COMPLETE 10/31 - Create a python script to control the 7 segment displays
  • COMPLETE 11/6 - Create the initial python paper football script that includes all the IR sensors for goal detection, both 7 segment displays for scoring, 2 LEDs and a switch for possession, and a pushbutton for reset

Griffin's Individual Work:

  • Create shell scripts for the LCD jumbotron
  • Create a python script to call the shell scripts to control the LCD jumbotron
  • Incorporate the LCD jumbotron code into the main paper football python program
  • Create time-trial gamemode

Future Work