I would consider myself a pretty strong programmer and have beginner to intermediate level experience with C++. I have a very ambitious robotics project that I want to pull the trigger on, but would like to go into it with a general idea of how many years it would take do complete solo.
My idea is to program a robotic arm to play chess again you with the Stockfish chess engine (currently strongest in existence) running on the backend. Here are the major challenges associated:
Construction – 3D printed: custom board w/ electronics mounting, pre-designed play pieces modified for grabber, custom grabber.
RFID Input – 64 antenna array wiring and integration. Per-piece instead of implied identification is needed for illegal move detection and piece promotion.
Logic programming – Board state tracking, first move detection and subsequent turn control, integration with Stockfish chess engine.
Robot programming – Pick and place sequencing, piece removal, etc. translated onto ARM Cortex-M3.
Extra features – Illegal move detection followed by robot putting the piece back (player is required to put back any pieces taken off the board or otherwise correct any issues outside of arm control), promotion detection including the robot removing promoted piece (for instance, a queen) until you place the one it wants.
I’m well versed in just how much longer complicated projects like this can take in practice, but is this simply too much for one person to accomplish with a couple hours a day for a few years? On one hand, it’s a project I’ve wanted to do for a very long time, but the sheer amount of effort it will require seems daunting, it would help to know what I should expect.