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Feb 03 2014

Nerve Wracking: Outlining People with Paintball Guns

waterloopbHere’s a project you should enjoy. Waterloo Labs recently created a set of computer controlled paintball guns who’s primary directive is to miss their target. Sounds easy enough right? Just find the target and shoot literally anywhere else. But what they are actually trying to do is have the gun miss the target by just a little in order to draw an outline at up to 10 shots per second. I’m guessing that has application in high-speed homicide investigation or something?

They call the project Paintball Picasso and it’s still got a few bugs to work out. Watch the video after the jump and you’ll see one of the participants, who doesn’t appear to be wearing a mask, takes a shot to the shoulder. After that they always wear masks. They’re scientists, they’ve got lab coats and everything. They’re not going to be stupid in the same way more than once.

The Paintball Picasso system uses a webcam to capture an image of a willing test subject. Picasso then processes the image. The human outline is plotted on a 50×50 grid of paintball pixels. Then the real fun begins. Paintball Picasso uses a National Instruments myRIO to command two paintball markers to simultaneously fire. The markers are fitted with high torque R/C style servos for pan and tilt. At 10 rounds per second the markers quickly draw the human outline. The test subject walks away slightly splattered, but otherwise unscathed. With a matrix of 2500 points, [Waterloo Labs] has enough resolution to draw some basic logos.

Hit the jump for the video.

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1 comment

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