by Steve Annear | January 14, 2014 10:50 am
The days of throwing marshmallows into your friend’s mouth to see if they can catch them are no match for the face-detecting cannon that launches the soft, white food across the room.
Developed by mechanical engineering students at Olin College in Needham as part of their fall semester final project, the “Confectionery Cannon” can seek out targets before blasting them with a marshmallow at a reasonable speed. It even reloads on its own.
Why create something that shoots marshmallows at peoples’ noggins? It was an assignment, of course. But it’s also extremely entertaining to use.
All it took to put together the device was some coding, tinkering with electronics, a PCV pipe, and a $250 budget.
“To control our mechanical and pneumatic system we developed a robust electrical system. We use a custom protoshield on our Arduino to connect and control our four servos, and we trigger our pnematic launcher by controlling a solenoid on a sprinkler valve,” the inventors wrote on their website.
They then used an OpenCV program, along with a webcam, to create the face-tracking technology that allows the cannon to seek out its intended target.
Part of their “Principles of Engineering” class, the four students behind the Confectionery Cannon designed the entire system using tools offered at the school, including laser-cutting technology to construct certain pieces of the gun.
Check out the video below to see the cannon in action:
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