The Centurion is an automatic-targeting paintball sentry gun. Its purpose is to guard a doorway, alleyway, or any open space. It watches an area with its camera. If it sees movement, it aims its guns at it and shoots at a high rate of fire until the target leaves the field of view or stops moving. As long as the target keeps moving, the guns track the movement and keep shooting. It can also differentiate color. So, for example, team members with blue sweat shirts could be allowed to pass, but enemies with red sweatshirts will be dealt with severely. The main components are:
- Motherboard with a Corei5-4570S Quad Core 2.9Ghz, 8GB RAM, 120GB SSD, & WiFi module
- Arduino Leonardo
- Wide-angle HD webcam
- 8-Channel Relay Board
- 12v 7,000mAh Lithium-Ion battery
- Actobotics Pan-Tilt Turret
- Actobotics tubes, channel, brackets, clamps, shafts, ball bearings, gears, and other components
- Actobotics Hitec Servos
- Maxbotix ultrasonic range finder
- (2) high-performance paintball guns (Dye Proto Reflex 14’s with custom modified barrels)
- (2) targeting lasers
- (2) electric ammunition hoppers (not shown)
- (2) air tanks (not shown)
- Portable keyboard, mouse, and keyboard (not shown)(not necessary for operation)
We started out with the code from the open source Project Sentry Gun, which is written in Processing, and then went from there.
The Centurion is one of several projects that we work on just for fun when we aren’t working other projects. The whole system isn’t done yet, but we’ve made good progress on it. We are currently working on two new projects for the New York Hall of Science, so we won’t be getting back to this one for a while, but we thought we would share our work-in-progress.
We hacked into the circuit board of the paintball guns in order to load and fire the guns electronically.
We reverse engineered the gun’s circuit board to figure out where we needed to hack into it in order to control the firing sequence.
We built an aluminum enclosure for the electronics and the base of the pan-tilt turret, which is made with Actobotics hardware and servos:
Genevieve wiring up the relay board, which will control the firing of the paintball guns. Is that a gentle smile or a devilish grin? Is she thinking about paint balls flying at anyone in particular?
Genevieve soldering the power distribution board.
Genevieve wiring up the control switches and buttons on the back of the electronics enclosure.
Back view of the Centurion Sentry Gun, including multiple jacks and push buttons:
Front View, including the front port that the camera looks out of. When we are done, the port will be covered in glass.
We would like to introduce Mechatron, our mechatronic tank. When we designed and built Mechatron we wanted him to be tough looking, industrial, and retro-futuristic, with lots of metal, rivets, and gears. He’s built entirely out of aluminum, brass, and steel, but inside, he’s chock-full of high tech electronics. See pictures and more text below. And be sure to watch the video to see Mechatron in action!
Mechatron includes special wheels with rollers slanted at 45 degree angles and driven by dedicated gearboxes, four powerful motors, and a software-controlled drive system that we wrote that operates each of the wheels independently. The result is that he can move in any direction at any time in any orientation. In other words, he can drive forward and backwards or turn like a normal vehicle, but he can also drive perpendicular to the direction he’s facing or at any desired angle. Weighing in at forty five pounds, he is by far our heaviest robot, but he is also our most agile, which makes him tremendous fun to drive.
Mechatron’s gun turret pans 360 degrees, includes 8 range-finding sonars for target detection, a laser, and a high-powered electric automatic weapon that shoots brass or plastic pellets. Ammunition is fed from the base of the robot up through one of the articulated metal tubes attached to the turret (the other tube contains wires). He can fire extremely rapidly while standing still or moving.
Strips of 52 programmable RGB LED lights have been mounted on Mechatron’s underside and within his turret. The turret LEDs indicate the robot’s current mode and whether the weapon system is armed. The LEDs on the underside change color depending on the direction of each of the individual wheels (Blue = Stopped. Green = Forward. Red = Backward), which helps to illuminate how Mechatron’s unique drive system works.
Mechatron is designed to function in a variety of different modes, including both user-controlled Radio Control and/or fully-autonomous. For the RC mode, we built our own controller which matches Mechatron in look-and-feel. The left joystick controls the pan and tilt of the gun turret and includes the firing button on top (which is armed using the missile switch). The right joystick controls the drive system. Forward and Backward motion (Y-axis) moves the robot forward or backward. Twisting the joystick turns the robot in the direction of twist (Z-axis). Moving the joystick left or right (X-axis) causes the robot to strafe left or right while maintaining his current orientation. Combined X-Y-Z joystick motions create unique and agile movements, such as strafing in circles. The robot can move in any direction, while panning and tilting its turret and firing all at the same time.
- Overall Design: Beatty Robotics
- Arduino Software: Beatty Robotics
- Metal armor plates: Beatty Robotics
- Main Microcontroller: Arduino Mega 2560
- Microcontroller used for controlling LED lights: Arduino Nano
- Light Controller Software: Beatty Robotics
- Wheels: AndyMark (special thanks to Andy Baker, who was great to work with on these)
- Drive Gears: Modulox (special thanks to Dan Richardson at iR3 Creative Engineering & Andy Baker at AndyMark)
- Pan-Tilt gears and other parts: RobotZone (special thanks to ServoCity)
- Pan-Tilt Servos: Hitec Digital
- Sonars: (12) Maxbotix MaxSonar Ultrasonic Sensors
- Turret Sensor Head: Beatty Robotics
- RGB LED strips: Adafruit (Go Blinky Belt!)
- MP3 Sound Board: Sparkfun MP3 Trigger
- Servo Controller: Pololu Maestro
- Voltage Regulators: Pololu & Dimension Engineering
- High-amp Relays: DFRobot
- Motor Controllers: (2) Dimension Engineering Sabertooth 2×25
- Motors: (4) CIM
- Wireless Communication: Xbee Radio with Sparkfun Xbee Explorer Regulated board
- Joy Sticks: (2) 3-axis hall-effect joysticks from CH Products
- Batteries: (1) 12v 3-cell Lithium-Polymer 20C
- Aluminum, hardware, fasteners, wire, tools, and much else: McMaster-Carr
- Wire, electronic components, IC boards, and much else: Sparkfun & RobotShop