Why is an honest question...why spend this amount of time and money attempting to build an autonomous paintball sentry system? Which honestly I may not have enough of a big ol' brain to actually construct?
I could advise that my wife, JoJo, had a dream wherein people were climbing over the 8' wooden fence that completely surrounds the rear of our 50'x120 lot stealing gardening tools---this dream is absolutely true---but the dream occurred after i began researching the autonomous sentry gun project ( i have to admit i enjoy writing that term)----the sentry gun project has been in my mind for a considerable period of time.....there are internal and external benefits....internally, to obtain new (to me) skills with systems such as programming, chip wiring--and patience.
Externally benefits, to defend the garden and food supplies at night are obvious.
I cannot dismiss the requirement in the future to defend our gardens after investing so much time, effort and labor into feeding ourselves while others have played. I wish in the future we could hand out free food to everyone--in fact we have---which got us kicked out of the local farmers market and we will continue to share our produce if the world i project does not come to pass....but....i believe there will be the future question of what level of violence is applicable to defend food and water, when our world changes---- The autonomous paintball sentry gun is level one.
The end product of this experiment, hopefully, will drive off intruders, scavengers with the least amount of violence possible--i have experience with .68 paintball gun body hits and they are extremely unpleasant, especially when unexpected and the intruder is without head or body protection designed specially to prevent the unpleasant strike.
Level two of the sentry gun project would involved changing the paintball munitions from standard marking 68 caliber balls to munitions that not only contain paint but CS pepper spary powder as well. Yes, these are available and create an entire new level of unpleasant response to being struck...
Both level 1 & 2 paintball defense systems would make the average semi-intelligent, human wish to un-ass the protected area immediately.
Dependent upon the desperation of the future it goes without saying that, the autonomous sentry gun, as a concept, allows for the ultimate adaptation to an Aliens director's cut, final level if necessary.
I have researched, produced parts lists, diagrams and designs, scavenged materials from what is on hand----and begun purchasing equipment, used, whenever possible. I will build this. In posting this episode one i am laying out the start---the equipment I have first purchased and begun working on-----
"I'm Reese. Sergeant Tech-Com, DN38416. Assigned to protect you. You've been targeted for termination"
The Autonomous Sentry gun is 90% computer and micro controller programming, 5% servo operation and 5% actual gun. This is not a gun project it is a computer project..wherein the computer program interacts with the real world in a direct "ouchy" method.
The Arduino UNO micro controller pictured below
The Aduino micro-chip transfers the computer generated aiming and firing commands to the mechanical, powered, servo systems on the gun and it's motor servo systems to track, aim, fire and repeat as necessary until the target that has entered the predetermined zone of coverage--has exited the zone. The micro controller must be programmed by computer to activate through on/off commands the power to three separate motor systems on the gun...pan, tilt, and trigger operation when the computer orders these movements. naturally these movements must be capable of operating simultainously and repetatively. I am currently researching which of several available Adurino chips would be the best selection for this project's requirements and will order one this week. I have in route a book titled "Getting started with Aduino" to read for background information.
- The heart of the Autonomous sentry gun is the computer----I wished a laptop to be used only for this project with no other duties--and therefore went on the hunt for a used laptop. I located and ordered the above IBM thinkpad on the very,very cheap. Although inexpensive--the laptop contains the below listed specifications...which goes to show what you can get now on the computer market place for very little money if you actually look---that is, if it works when its delivered sometime next week. Why this particular laptop--first of all it was very cheap, and for lack of any other explanation---Thinkpad is a plus name towards the project---go figure?
- Intel Pentium M Processor 1.7GHz
- 512MB RAM
- 40GB Hard Drive
- 14.1-Inch Screen
- Windows XP Professional
Intel Pentium M Processor 735(1.7GHz) Windows XP Professional Installed 512MB Memory 40GB Hard Drive CD-RW/DVD 14.1" LCD Screen 32MB Radeon 7500 Video Integrated 802.11b Wireless Integrated Gigabit Ethernet.
I will have to download several programs into the ThinkPad Sentry laptop---the Sentry program itself is available on the net, but i will possibly have to download mods to Windows XP allowing me to program fix and adjust the downloaded sentry gun program in C+ language..........these programs transfer visual input (from the camera described below) in assigned areas as either an intruder or non intruder---once determined as an intruder---the program messages the micro controller to track-aim-fire-the micro controller sends messages as power surges to the servos to Physically accomplish the commands at the gun and mount station---simple right???? Lots of X factor here....and of course this is all suppose to happen much, much, much faster than a human intruder could ever possibly elude.
I have a list of programs, downloads, and modifications that must be made to both the laptop and then subsequently download material to the micro-controller. There is a bunch and everything must be accomplished on a logical sequence....I am still in the process of researching specifics and will have to test everything as i go....this is one of the reasons for a sentry specific laptop---i want no confusion within the computer as to what it's prime directive actually is....protective the homestead--Danger Will Robinson, Danger........
OK so that's the computing basics---but how does Skynet know there is an intruder? The webcam below is the sentry gun's eyes to the protected area....and the method of targeting the intruder.
- Motion Tracking
- Face Recognition Software
- Security Mode
- Servo Motors Pan & Tilt To Follow Motion
- Audio Built-in microphone
- Auto Features White Balance, Auto Exposure, Motion Tracking Sensor
- Bundled Software Smart Cam Plus, Crazy Talk Cam Suite
- Motion Tracking Up/Down Tilt 60°, Right/Left Pan 180°, Home, 4X Zoom
Believe it or not the above webcam with all the listed features cost around $30.00 new------unbelievable---the cam comes with it's own software which must be loaded into the Thinkpad and hopefully tied into the sentry program....the cam identifies the intruder--tracks their motion, while the sentry program targets--the orders to fire are then sent down the lines to the gun...there are many possibilities to explore with this system--for example with facial recognition---- can i make myself, my wife and our dogs immune as being targeted as an intruder if we step into the protected zones? This could be an ouch circumstance for sure if there is any form of a random glitch---but who knows? The first protocol for the cam and it's software is to see, track and advise the sentry program---if I can accomplish that it will be a huge first step........
So episode one of the Autonomous Sentry gun project will begin next week with the arrival of the Thinkpad--the webcam and the ordering of the appropriate micro controller chip to be followed by days of downloading, programming and without a doubt much, much cursing--
I'm looking forward to it.........
Episode two will address the gun, mount, wiring, turret construction plans, parts and testing outcomes of episode one----I will provide photo's all the way through the process.....
"Everyone is born a genius, but the process of living de-geniuses them."
R. Buckminster Fuller