Alvaro Prieto’s Laser-Shooting Robots

[Alvaro Prieto]’s talk at the Hackaday Supercon began with a slide that asks the rhetorical question “Why Laser-Shooting Robots?” Does a rhetorical question need an answer? [Alvaro] gives one anyway: “Because lasers are awesome.” We concur.

But it doesn’t hurt that DEFCON holds a laser robot contest to give you an excuse, either. You see, [Alvaro]’s laser-wielding robot was the First Place finisher in the 2014 DEFCONBOTS contest, and a much more ambitious design came in third in 2015. His Supercon talk is all about the lessons he’s learned along the way, because that’s really the point of these contests anyway, right?

“I have no idea what I’m doing.”

[Alvaro] started off with a disclaimer, but when [Alvaro] says he doesn’t know what he’s doing, what he means is that he hasn’t received formal training in building laser-wielding, autonomous turret robots. (How did we miss that class in school?)

iterations

He’s a true hacker, though; he didn’t know what he was doing when he started out but he started out anyway. [Alvaro]’s takes us from the first prototypes where he used servo motors with inadequate angular resolution mounted to balsa wood frames that he (obviously) cut with a knife by hand, through laser-cut frames with custom gearing and stepper motors, all the way to his DEFCONBOTS 2015 entry, based on OpenBeam aluminum extrusions and using professional laser-show galvos capable of swinging the beam around to thousands of points per second.

Continue reading “Alvaro Prieto’s Laser-Shooting Robots”

DefconBots sentry gun competition


DefconBots is returning again this year with their shooting gallery robot competition for Defcon 16. They’ve decided to leave the rules unchanged from last year. It’s a head to head competition between fully autonomous guns. The first gun to shoot all the targets on their side of the board wins. The rules aren’t very strict on design; as long as you use nonlethal nonmessy amunition and include a safety switch you’re pretty much good to go. The DefconBots site has a reference design to put you on the fast track to competing. Defcon 16 is August 8-10, 2008 in Las Vegas.

Related: [Aaron Rasmussen]’s sentry gun we covered back in 2005

[photo: Bre Pettis]

Defcon Bot challenge prototype


[Colin] sent in his prototype for the Defcon bot contest. The performance of the bot in the video is impressive. Hit it after the break. His build looks clean and simple – he even managed to score some sponsorship in the form of pololu servo controllers. Targeting the moving white sensor reminds me of the old MacGuyver episode with the lethal heat seeking robots.

If you’re working on any attack bots, feel free to let us know via the tips line.

Update: I woke up to realize that I forgot to embed the video. It should work now.

Continue reading “Defcon Bot challenge prototype”

USB airsoft turret


[Jared] over at inventgeek.com remembers to think of us whenever he finishes up one of his projects. His latest is an USB Airsoft gun turret based on one of those USB nerf dart turrets. Hrm, this could make a decent base for a defconbots entry. It sounds like he’ll be building an even deadlier expensive version later on.

Don’t forget, December 25th is the deadline for your Design Challenge entries!