For his final project in UCLA’s Physics 4AL program, [Timothy Kanarsky] used a NodeMCU to smarten up a carefully dissected NERF football. With the addition to dual MPU6050 digital accelerometers and some math, the ball can calculate things like the distance traveled and angular velocity. With a 9 V alkaline battery and a voltage regulator board along for the ride it seems like a lot of weight to toss around; but of course nobody on the Hackaday payroll has thrown a ball in quite some time, so we’re probably not the best judge of such things.
Even if you’re not particularly interested in refining your throw, there’s a lot of fascinating science going on in this project; complete with fancy-looking equations to make you remember just how poorly you did back in math class.
As [Timothy] explains in the write-up, the math used to find velocity and distance traveled with just two accelerometers is not unlike the sort of dead-reckoning used in intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Since we’ve already seen model rockets with their own silos, seems all the pieces are falling into place.
The NodeMCU polls the accelerometers every 5 milliseconds, and displays the data on web page complete with scrolling graphs of acceleration and angular velocity. When the button on the rear of the ball is pressed, the data is instead saved to basic Comma Separated Values (CSV) file that’s served up to clients with a minimal FTP server. We might not know much about sportsball, but we definitely like the idea of a file server we can throw at people.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen an instrumented football. Back in 2011 it took some pretty elaborate hardware to pull this sort of thing off, and it’s fascinating to see how far the state-of-the-art has progressed.
It doesn’t take long after getting a cat in your life to learn who’s really in charge. Cats do pretty much what they want to do, when they want to do it, and for exactly as long as it suits them. Any correlation with your wants and needs is strictly coincidental, and subject to change without notice, because cats.
[Alvaro Ferrán Cifuentes] almost learned this the hard way, when his cat developed a habit of exploring the countertops in his kitchen and nearly turned on the cooktop while he was away. To modulate this behavior, [Alvaro] built this AI Nerf turret gun. The business end of the system is just a gun mounted on a pan-tilt base made from 3D-printed parts and a pair of hobby servos. A webcam rides atop the gun and feeds into a PC running software that implements the YOLO3 localization algorithm. The program finds the cat, tracks its centroid, and swivels the gun to match it. If the cat stays in the no-go zone above the countertop for three seconds, he gets a dart in his general direction. [Alvaro] found that the noise of the gun tracking him was enough to send the cat scampering, proving that cats are capable of learning as long as it suits them.
We like this build and appreciate any attempt to bring order to the chaos a cat can bring to a household. It also puts us in mind of [Matthias Wandel]’s recent attempt to keep warm in his shop, although his detection algorithm was much simpler.
Continue reading “Keep Pesky Cats At Bay With A Machine-Learning Turret Gun”
Gatling guns were an early attempt at creating a rapid-firing weapon, and were popular amongst armies in the 19th century. Today, the basic design remains in use as a heavy weapon for putting many rounds downrange very quickly. [Ivan Miranda] decided that the Nerf world was missing a piece of the action, and got started on his own design (Youtube link, embedded below).
As per most [Ivan] builds, this one is a glorious pile of 3D printed parts turned into something functional and fun. It’s an ingenious design that’s more a Gatling in spirit than reality as it lacks the multiple barrels of the original, and it uses smart ducting to allow a single electric fan to both fire the foam Nerf balls as well as suck them in to reload the next shot. In testing, it achieved a muzzle velocity of 60 mph, firing at a rate of approximately 10 rounds/second. The presentation is great too, with plenty of cable wrap, meaty switches, and glowing lights to add to the aesthetic. There are even a couple of bright LED lamps on the front to help dazzle your targets into submission.
Once again, [Ivan]’s work is a great example of what is achievable with a 3D printer and smart design. His water jet drive ain’t bad, either. Video after the break.
Continue reading “This Nerf Gun Is Terrifyingly Huge”
What is this world coming to when you can’t even enjoy sitting in your living room without some jamoke flying a drone in through the window? Is nothing sacred? Won’t someone think of the children?
Apparently [Drew Pilcher] did, and the result is this anti-drone sentry gun. It’s a sturdily built machine – one might even say it’s overbuilt. The gimbal is made from machined steel pieces, and the swivels are a pair of Sherline stepper-controlled rotary tables with 1/40 of a degree accuracy selling for $400 each. Riding atop that is a Nerf rifle, which is cocked by a stepper-actuated linear slide, as well as a Kinect for object tracking. The tracking app is a little rough – just OpenCV hacked onto the Kinect SDK – but good enough for testing. The gun tracks as smoothly as one would expect given the expensive hardware, and the auto-cocking feature works well if a bit slowly. Based as it is on Nerf technology, this sentry is only indicated for the control of the micro-drones seen in the snuff video below, but really, anyone afflicted by indoor infestations of Phantoms or Mavics has bigger problems to worry about.
Over-engineered? Perhaps, but it’s better than letting the menace of indoor drones go unanswered. And it’s far from the first sentry gun we’ve seen, targeting everything from cats to squirrels using lasers, paintballs, and even plain water.
Continue reading “Well-Built Sentry Gun Addresses The Menace Of Indoor Micro-UAVs”
Nerf guns are a great way to annoy parents. Simply give them as a gift to any child, and watch precious family heirlooms tumble to the ground as little Holly commando rolls behind the couch to avoid enemy combatants invading the loungeroom. Adults may find them lacking in stopping power and firing rate, but not to worry – there’s plenty to be done about that. [3D Printing Nerd] took a trip to visit the [Out of Darts] workshop, to check out some seriously hardcore blasters.
[Out of Darts] runs as a store that sells all manner of tools and components for hopping up Nerf blasters, but they also sell complete original builds as well. The video showcases all manner of hardware, from powered backpack ammunition hoppers, to drain blaster shotguns and multirocket launchers. The workshop also contains 22 Prusa i3 printers that run 24/7 producing parts, barring breakdowns. Injection moulding, eat your heart out.
Things have come a long way since the old days of swapping in big springs to Hasbro blasters and crossing fingers that nothing breaks. 3D printing allows the home maker to produce just about any part imaginable without requiring advanced machine tools or special skills beyond the use of garden variety CAD software. It’s not the first time we’ve seen 3D printed Nerf blasters, and we’re sure it won’t be the last either. As always, tip ’em if you got ’em. Video after the break.
Continue reading “Nerf Mods Via 3D Printing”
Nerf blasters have been around for decades now, exciting children and concerning parents alike. Most are powered by springs or compressed air, and are the ideal holiday toy for putting delicate family heirlooms at risk. Not content to settle for the usual foam-flinging sidearm, [Peter Sripol] decided to take things up a notch.
The build starts with a MEGA CYCLONESHOCK blaster, which uses the larger red NERF darts as ammunition. Water tanks are rigged to the outside, fitted with stainless steel electrodes. The original spring & plunger firing assembly is then removed, to make room for a firing chamber made out of copper pipe. A small taser-like device is used as an igniter. When the charging switch is pressed, current is passed through the electrodes in the water, which splits the water into hydrogen and oxygen gas. This is then passed to the firing chamber, where it can be ignited by the taser module, activated by the trigger.
Despite some issues with the blaster occasionally destroying darts due to what appears to be overpressure, it is capable of higher shot velocities than the stock blaster. For all its complexity, performance is somewhat hit and miss, but the cool factor of a handheld hydrogen bubbler is hard to ignore. [Peter] does note however that the combination of explosive gases and dangerous catalyst chemicals make this one build that’s probably best left to adults.
If this NERF hack isn’t dangerous enough, you might prefer these Taser darts instead. Video after the break.
[Thanks to Baldpower for the tip!]
Continue reading “Hydrogen Powered Nerf Blaster Is Dangerously Awesome”
For most of us, a good part of our childhood involved running around someone’s backyard (or inside the house) trying to score hits with a toy NERF gun. The fun level was high and the risk of personal injury was low. Now that we’re all mostly adults, it’s probably time to take our NERF game to the next level with some risk of serious personal harm.
In an effort to help his brother get back at him for being somewhat of a bully in their youth, [Allen Pan] gifted him with an upgraded NERF gun. Specifically, one with darts that pack a punch. Each of the “Elite” darts was equipped with a 300 V capacitor packed into the interior of the dart. New tips were 3D printed with special metal tips that allow the capacitor to discharge upon impact.
Besides the danger, there’s a good bit of science involved. Parts were scavenged from a new (and surprisingly expensive) disposable camera, and a customized circuit was constructed around the barrel of the dart gun that allows the darts to charge up when they’re loaded. It’s an impressive build that would be relatively simple to reconstruct for yourself, but it’s probably not the worst thing we’ve seen done with high voltage and a few small capacitors.
Thanks to [Itay] for the tip!
Continue reading “You Should Not Try These Taser NERF Darts”