AIP Conference Proceedings 2217, 030140 (2020); https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0000773 2217, 030140
© 2020 Author(s).
A novel blind chessboard support system
(BCSS) featuring magnetorheological
Cite as: AIP Conference Proceedings 2217, 030140 (2020); https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0000773
Published Online: 14 April 2020
Ardiansyah Al Farouq, Dimas Adiputra, Ubaidillah Ubaidillah, and Rumi Iqbal Doewes
A Novel Blind Chessboard Support System (BCSS)
Featuring Magnetorheological Elastomer Sensor
Ardiansyah Al Farouq1, Dimas Adiputra2,a), Ubaidillah Ubaidillah3,b) and Rumi
1Computer Engineering Department, Institut Teknologi Telkom Surabaya, Surabaya, Indonesia
2Electrical Engineering Department, Institut Teknologi Telkom Surabaya, Surabaya, Indonesia
3Department of Mechanical Engineering, Universitas Sebelas Maret, Surakarta, Indonesia
4Department of Sports Education and Health, Universitas Sebelas Maret, Surakarta, Indonesia
a)Corresponding author: email@example.com
Abstract. Blind chess game has been included in the Paralympic sport. As the name suggest, the players are visual-
handicapped athlete who sometimes forget to push the timer button for turn transition. Therefore, in this paper an
algorithm for a novel blind chess support system with a novel magnetorheological elastomer sensor is presented. The
algorithm consists of two types such as turn transition and chess pin movement identification. In the turn transition
algorithm, the player’s turn transition is handled where the active timer is changed automatically without the needs of
pushing the timer button when chess pin movement is detected. Then, in chess pin movement identification algorithm,
the noises from the novel magnetorheological elastomer sensor are discarded before accurately detect the chess pin
movement. The algorithm has been tested for detecting the chess pin movement in random falling speed. The result is the
chess pin movement can be detected using the developed algorithm. Players can play the chess game without the need to
push the timer button during turn transition. Therefore, this novel blind chess support system can be implemented for
assisting a blind chess game by handling the turn transition automatically.
Chess is a sport that has been contested in the Olympics since long time ago even in the Paralympic. The chess
athletes in the Paralympic are usually a visually impaired athletes, hence the game was called as blind chess. It has
the same traits as a chess game played by blindfold master player and a beginner player as a handicapped. In blind
chess game, there are problems that needs to be tackled as reported by Balata et al.  such as the player mental
images. The player must have a strong mental image specially to remember the pieces positioning. It has alread y
challenging to visualize the winning pattern, but when the player could not see the pieces, it is become more difficult
Less distraction to the blind chess player is demanded so the player can put more concentration into the game.
Modification can be made on the chessboard which was the main instrument in a blind chess avoid unnecessary
distraction such as the chess pin was misplaced. A blind chessboard which depicted in Fig. 1 was equipped with a
hole to put the chess pieces at the exact point. However, the players are reported to have trouble putting the chess
pieces into the hole when feel under pressure in a game. To improve this, it has been suggested in  that the blind
chess board should use magnetic board system instead of pin hole system. That way, the chess pieces can be put to
the designated area accurately according to the magnetic field without distract the player’s concentration.
Another improvement that can be made is by put an additional integrated clock system to the board . Each
player is given a time to finish their play until the game is over. The timer was only running during the player’s turn;
thus, the current turn player must push the timer button to end his turn. However, some players are reported to be
The 5th International Conference on Industrial, Mechanical, Electrical, and Chemical Engineering 2019 (ICIMECE 2019)
AIP Conf. Proc. 2217, 030140-1–030140-8; https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0000773
Published by AIP Publishing. 978-0-7354-1971-1/$30.00
nervous touching the timer button during the match even for a professional player. To avoid the nervousness, the
blind chess player asked another person to push the timer’s button.
Playing under time pressure is already enough to distract the concentration . Moreover, if the player forgets to
push the timer during a hectic game, it may cause confusion afterwards. Here, the integrated clock system should be
able to solve this matter of turn transition such as by detecting the turn transition and change the player’s timer
automatically. This application of such support system is not only limited to blind chess, but also to normal chess. It
can help the player to concentrate more into the game without worrying about pressing the timer’s button during
Therefore, in this research the development novel blind chessboard support system (BCSS) is presented. The
board consists of novel magnetorheological elastomer sensor and algorithm for turn transition and chess pin
movement identification. The sensor was made from a coil covered with Magnetorheological Elastomer (MRE). It
can detect the chess pin movement which works under Faraday’s law of induction. Magnets were embedded in the
chess pin and board, so they can attract each other. The BCSS algorithm was tested to identify chess pin movement
in random free-falling speed. When, chess pin movement is identified as chess pin being placed on to the board, t he
player’s timer is changed indicating the turn transition. Therefore, the BCSS can be used for assisting a blind chess
FIGURE 1.Blind chess board is equipped with a pin hole for spatial identification of the chess pieces location.
FARADAY’S LAW OF INDUCTION
The Faraday’s Law of induction is often used to study the effect of moving magnetic field (B) over a certain area
(A) in a certain time (t). The result is generated voltage (V) that produces induced current (i) on the perimeter as
shown in Fig.2 which follows equation 1.
- N dBA
FIGURE 2.Induced current due to moving magnetic field. The direction of the current is different according to the direction of
the moving magnetic field.
Several active researches about Faraday’s law of induction are about its phenomenon in quantum mechanics
(Langevin diamagnetism) , its side effect (moving extended conductors) , and its main usage (voltage
generation using magneto tactic bacteria) . Another implementation of Faraday’s law of induction also can be
seen in commercial Hall-effect sensor where the change of voltage caused by moving magnetic field is used to
detect motion. In this paper, the Faraday’s law of induction will be discussed as a theory for magnetic field induced
sensor in Blind Chess Support System (BCSS).
BLIND CHESS SUPPORT SYSTEM
The BCSS presented in this study provide a magnetic field induced sensor and algorithm for turn transition and
chess pin movement identification. These aspects were chosen to be developed because they complement each other.
Magnetorheological elastomer sensor
Sensor can be used to obtain information about the chess play, for instance multi-sensory system for collecting
current play data to develop a counter strategy . However, in this study, the sensor was used only to detect turn
transition between the two players. The sensor is called as magnetorheological elastomer sensor. It basically consists
of magnet and coil which united by a rubber material as illustrated in Fig. 3. Not only to unite the magnet and the
coil, the rubber also acts as an induction core. This rubber is not a common rubber, instead it is a smart rubber called
as Magnetorheological Elastomer (MRE) . The MRE itself has gain some popularity in research studies such
study of its rheology characteristics to weight load [8, 9], study of MRE transient response , and study of MRE
as vibration isolator . However, in this research, the MRE characteristic will not be discussed further.
Magnets were placed at the top of the chessboard and at the bottom of the chess pin. The sensor is placed exactly
at the bottom of chessboard magnet as shown in Fig. 3. When a chess pin moves near the sensor, the magnetic force
pulls the chess pin down to its place. At the same time, the moving magnetic field appear and produces voltage on
the sensor’s coil. This voltage is then used as the signal of the chess pin movement which the output depends on the
magnetic field’s rate of change or can be called as magnetic flux. The voltage may vary due to the player’s behavior
affect the speed of chess pin falling to the board. However, the falling speed of the chess pieces can be unified due
to the presence of the on-board magnet. The voltage has been amplified using an op-amp so it will be easier to be
read by microcontroller such as Arduino.
FIGURE 3.The magnetorheological elastomer sensor in BCSS. If the chess pieces are moving away or closer, then the voltage
will appear on the coil.
Typical analog voltage read from the sensor when there was a chess pin movement is shown in Fig. 4. If there
was a magnetic flux, then the voltage was changed up and down for a short period. High speed chess pin (Chess pin
was placed down by let it be pulled down by the magnetic force) produced higher magnetic flux thus high voltage
changed (point 1, 2, 4, and 5 in Fig. 4), while slow speed chess pin (the chess pin was placed down slowly using
hand) produced lower magnetic flux thus low voltage changed (point 3 in Figure 4). This sensor can sense the
change without external power supply because the voltage signal comes from chess pin movement directly.
Therefore, the presented magnetorheological elastomer sensor was more efficient compared to the commercial hall-
FIGURE 4.The typical voltage produced by the sensing unit which shows five consecutive chess pin movement.
The novel magnetorheological elastomer sensors were installed at each box of the chess board as depicted in Fig.
5. There were 64 boxes on the chess board, thus 64 sensors are necessary. Microcontroller Arduino does not provide
enough analog input channel, therefore, the reading from the sensors were reduced to a single channel reading. To
read the signal in a single analog input channel, all the sensors were connected in a series connection. Each of the
sensor has positive and negative cable. Initially, the positive of chess pin (n) was connected to negative of the next
(n+1) chess pin. The connection was then continued until the last chess pin. Therefore, there would be one negative
cable of the first chess pin (n=1) and one positive cable of the last chess pin (n=64). These cables were then
connected into the single analog input pin in the microcontroller Arduino as shown in Fig. 5.
FIGURE 5.The magnetorheological elastomer sensors on tops a chessboard. The sensing units are connected to each other in a
As the BCSS also included the turn transition algorithm, it was necessary to display the timer on LCD display to
indicate the turn transition. Moreover, audio notification was also demanded to notify the player that his time limit
has been run out. Therefore, additional circuitry was compulsory. Figure 6 shows the complete circuitry of BCSS
which consists of sensing units, buzzer, microcontroller, and LCD display. The LCD display was an integrated LCD
shield which equipped with analog push button for more functionality such as choosing the time limit and to restart
the BCSS when starting a new game.
FIGURE 6.Complete circuitry of BCSS. There were LCD display integrated with Arduino and Op-amp circuit.
Turn transition Algorithm
The BCSS algorithm consists of two parts: the turn transition algorithm and chess pin movement identification
algorithm as shown in Fig. 7. To develop the BCSS algorithm, basic information such as rules and gameplay of the
blind chess game were obtained. Based on the information obtained from National Paralympic Committee (NPC)
Indonesia, the blind chess turn transition rules are the following:
The player with white chess pin always moves first indicating the beginning of the game.
The turn is over when the player placed down his chess pin into his/her designated chess box.
Player could not place back the chess pin that have been lifted once.
When taking out the opposing chess pin, the chess pin is directly laid out of the chess board.
Therefore, no replay is allowed.
From this information, the turn transition algorithm was developed. The turn transition algorithm which shown
in Fig. 7 (a) goes as follows: (1) at the start of the game, the time limit is chosen such as 30, 45, and 90 minutes, (2)
when the “select” button is pressed, the time is started, (3) the timer started from the player 1 side, (4) the turn
transition (player 1 timer is paused then player 2 timer is running, and vice versa) took place when a chess pin was
placed down to the player’s designated box, (5) during all the time, the timer is constantly displayed on the LCD, (6)
and the time stops when the time has reached the limit. Here, the critical factor is the detection of the chess pin was
placed down to the player’s designated box.
Chess pin movement identification algorithm
The chess pin movement which necessary to be identified was the place down movement. Therefore, the analog
voltage read from the sensor due to the place down movement of a chess pin was studied. Based on the typical
analog voltage read from the sensor shown in Fig. 4, there was a noise included in the analog voltage read which the
value was observed to be around 500. This value is captured when no magnetic flux is presented. Therefore, a noise
removal algorithm is necessary for the BCSS before identifying the chess pin movement to ensure the chess pin
movement signal is captured. The flow of the chess pin movement identification algorithm is presented in Fig. 7 (b).
First, voltage data within noise threshold which was determined as 400 < x < 600 is discarded. The captured analog
voltage read became 0, but for showing purposes the 0 is moved into 500 which is the mean value of the determined
threshold and the voltage reading before noise removal algorithm is applied.
Whenever the voltage changed is presented from the sensor due to magnetic flux of the chess pin movement, the
voltage which exceeds the noise threshold will appear. The next 20 data samples are then captured. Max and min
value of the data are highlighted. Next, movement threshold of 200 is defined. If the difference between the max and
the min value of the data exceed the movement threshold of 200, then the system identifies that chess pin movement
as the chess pin being placed down to the chess board.
FIGURE 7.BCSS algorithm consists of two parts: Turn transition algorithm (a) and chess pin movement identification
RESULT AND DISCUSSION
The BCSS algorithm was uploaded into the microcontroller Arduino and the analog voltage reading of the sensor
was recorded from 11 samples of falling chess pin to see whether the turn transition can be done using the BCSS or
not. Figure 8 shows the reading of 11 samples of free-falling chess pin to the chess board. Free-falling chess pin case
is selected because this case provided a high voltage reading from the sensor compared to if the chess pin being
placed down by hand. Blue line indicates the raw signal while the orange line indicates the processed signal by the
noise removal algorithm. Maximum value is denoted as “mx” and minimum value is denoted as “mn”. The
difference between mx and mn is expressed as delta.
From the result in Fig. 8, although all the signal was obtained from chess pin being placed down to the chess
board movement, not all the chess pin movement was identified as it should be. Signal 6, 9, and 10 did not pass the
noise threshold (400<x<600), thus no signal is presented in the processed signal. Signal 1 and 3 passed the noise
threshold, however, it was not recognized as chess pin being placed down to the chess board since the delta is less
than 200. Successful chess movement detection can be seen from signal 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 11. The signal passed the
noise threshold and the delta passed the movement threshold.
FIGURE 8.The analog read of voltage from the magnetorheological elastomer sensor when a chess pin is placed on the
chessboard in random free-falling speed.
The presented BCSS algorithm aims to detect the chess pin movement for automatic turn transition, thus
removed the requirement of pushing the timer button by the player. If the chess pin movement is detected as chess
pin being placed down to the chess board, then the active timer will change automatically between the players which
indicates the turn transition. Result shows that the automatic turn transition can be done using the presented BCSS
algorithm. However, as this study is still in preliminary stage, there was still unsuccessful automatic turn transition
which was caused by undetected chess pin movement as presented in Fig. 8. The causes of that unsuccessful
detection are more to the lack investigation on the hardware part especially the sensors rather than the algorithm
itself. The lack investigations are the followings:
Suitable noise threshold and movement threshold.
Arbitrary fix value was used in this research for the noise threshold and movement threshold which were
400<x<600 and 200 respectively. There should be more suitable threshold value which can be obtained
through more rigorous investigation. For instance, 100 trials of putting down the chess pin is conducted.
Then, the representative threshold range can be obtained by calculating the mean and standard deviation of
the analog read. In this research, since it has not been yet investigated, the detection accuracy of the chess
pin placement on the chess board was reduced which then affected the success rate of automatic turn
Magnetic flux consistency between each trial.
The chess board consisted of several magnets side by side. Therefore, the magnetic field presented on the
chess board was the combination of magnetic field from several magnets simultaneously. Because of this,
the magnetic flux might become strong at one time and might be weak at the other time depends on the
falling angle and position of the chess pin during placement. To increase the magnetic flux consistency, first,
the desired magnetic field should be simulated first to obtain suitable magnet specification and
configuration. Also, as the magnetic field consistency will affect the suitable threshold value range, the
investigation on this matter should be conducted first.
In this paper, a novel blind chessboard support system (BCSS) has been presented. The blind chessboard has a
novel magnetorheological elastomer sensor and embedded algorithm. The algorithm consists of turn transition and
chess pin movement identification algorithm. All these components worked in harmony to automate the active timer
change between player during turn transition. The algorithm has been tested for identifying the chess pin movement
in random falling speed and doing the turn transition. The result is the chess pin movement can be detected using the
algorithm. Players can play the chess game without the need to push the timer button. Therefore, the novel blind
chess support system can be implemented for assisting a blind chess game by handling the turn transition
automatically. The detection accuracy should be improved in future work by doing analysis about the magnetic flux
consistency between each trial and suitable threshold investigation for the algorithm. In more advance, the
magnetorheological elastomer sensors can be characterized more so it can be used not only to identify the chess pin
being placed down to the board, but also several type of movement such as white chess pin movement and black
chess pin movement identification.
The authors would like to express their gratitude to Universitas Sebelas Maret for their support under Hibah
PPKGR 2019. Also, to Institut Teknologi Telkom Surabaya for their support under Dana Publikasi Jurnal Ilmiah
ITTelkom Surabaya 2019. The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to
publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
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