DIY gun turret takes down mini-drones!

on . Posted in Articles of Interest

MONTPELIER, Vermont (PNN) - June 20, 2019 - A technology-enthusiast has invented a Nerf gun turret that can automatically track and shoot down small drones. The ingenious contraption uses the Lidar capabilities of a Kinect v2 sensor, and a milled steel two-axis gimbal, all controlled by software based on the OpenCV AI library, which is geared towards realtime computer vision.

The turret is the handiwork of self-described engineer and inventor Drew Pilcher, who's been working on the turret for over five years.

"It just seemed like a cool project," he said. "I've always been really interested in the CIWS [close-in weapon system], so that was the inspiration. Since I shared the project a lot of people have suggested that this would be great for keeping animals out of gardens and other pest control."

But it wasn't until May 29 this year that the turret achieved the crucial milestone for any device designed to shoot down drones: it shot down a drone - a Tiny Whoop micro-drone, to be precise. The difficulty is a result of getting all the constituent parts to work together, Pilcher explained.

"It was very difficult to get all the PC libraries to work with each other," he says. "The Kinect data doesn't come in the same format as OpenCV expects, and the images OpenCV produces aren't the right format for the OpenGL GUI element. It was pretty easy to fire up some example code and get each part working separately, but to get them all working together in the same program took about 90% of the programming time. The tracking code and computer vision was easy by comparison."

The project is impressive for a host of reasons, not least being that Pilcher designed the steel gimbal in SolidWorks, before cutting it out with a computer-controlled mill. To these, he added a $375 Sherline 4-inch rotary table to each axis, each accurate to a fortieth of a degree.

Was it hard to stay motivated over five years, we ask? "Yes, definitely," says Pilcher. "I'm just doing this project for fun, so if I'm not enjoying the work, I'll stop and work on something else. Consequently there were spans of months where it just sat on the shelf. I kept coming back to it though."

Also impressive is the fact that Pilcher built an auto-loading mechanism for the Nerf gun, which fully integrates with the controlling software.

Pilcher hopes to speed up the reloading mechanism in future updates, but may put the project back on the shelf for a while.

"I pushed hard to hit the milestone of shooting down a drone," he said. "Now that I've done that, I might take a break on this project for a while. I do already have a long list of improvements I would like to make. For example, I want to improve the engagement window system so that it can ignore stationary objects. I also want to add the ability to lead targets."

Eulogies

Eulogy for an Angel
1992-Dec. 20, 2005

Freedom
2003-2018

Freedom sm

My Father
1918-2010

brents dad

Dr. Stan Dale
1929-2007

stan dale

A. Solzhenitsyn
1918-2008

solzhenitsyn

Patrick McGoohan
1928-2009

mcgoohan

Joseph A. Stack
1956-2010

Bill Walsh
1931-2007

Walter Cronkite
1916-2009

Eustace Mullins
1923-2010

Paul Harvey
1918-2009

Don Harkins
1963-2009

Joan Veon
1949-2010

David Nolan
1943-2010

Derry Brownfield
1932-2011

Leroy Schweitzer
1938-2011

Vaclav Havel
1936-2011

Andrew Breitbart
1969-2012

Dick Clark
1929-2012

Bob Chapman
1935-2012

Ray Bradbury
1920-2012

Tommy Cryer
1949-2012

Andy Griffith
1926-2012

Phyllis Diller
1917-2012

Larry Dever
1926-2012

Brian J. Chapman
1975-2012

Annette Funnicello
1942-2012

Margaret Thatcher
1925-2012

Richie Havens
1941-2013

Jack McLamb
1944-2014

James Traficant
1941-2014

jim traficant

Dr. Stan Monteith
1929-2014

stan montieth

Leonard Nimoy
1931-2015

Leonard Nimoy

Stan Solomon
1944-2015

Stan Solomon

B. B. King
1926-2015

BB King

Irwin Schiff
1928-2015

Irwin Schiff

DAVID BOWIE
1947-2016

David Bowie

Muhammad Ali
1942-2016

Muhammed Ali

GENE WILDER
1933-2016

gene wilder

phyllis schlafly
1924-2016

phylis schafly

John Glenn
1921-2016

John Glenn

Charles Weisman
1954-2016

Charles Weisman

Carrie Fisher
1956-2016

Carrie Fisher

Debbie Reynolds
1932-2016

Debbie Reynolds

Roger Moore
1917-2017

Roger Moore

Adam West
1928-2017

Adam West

JERRY LEWIS
1926-2017

jerry lewis

HUGH HEFNER
1926-2017

Hugh Hefner

PROF. STEPHEN HAWKING
1942-2018

Hugh Hefner 

ART BELL
1945-2018

Art Bell

DWIGHT CLARK
1947-2018

dwight clark

CARL MILLER
1952-2017

Carl Miller

HARLAN ELLISON
1934-2018

Harlan Ellison

STAN LEE
1922-2018

stan lee