Defcon 15 and Autonomous Sentry Gun

Sentry Gun
This is a little out of date, but I thought I should add it for historical purposes.

Since November of 2006 Kevin and I had been working on an autonomous sentry gun for Defcon 15. The gun was supposed to autonomously shoot down white targets on a black background as fast as possible. Kevin and I worked a long time to get the gun working, and several weeks before completion Zack joined in to make the gun look like the original sentry from the video game Team Fortress Classic.
After months of development, we finally finished the gun a week before the competition.

The competition itself was in the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas. We shipped our gun to the Hotel a week in advance, and flew down on Friday. Jamie went with us, and for the two of us it was like a little vacation (Since my internship I hadn’t really had any time for anything that resembled a vacation. I skipped an annual family trip in order to roll over my vacation time for a honeymoon after I got married).

When we took our gun down to the conference room where we would compete, we got a lot of weird looks. We were the only people at the event that had themed our gun to make it look like a video game gun, so it really stuck out against the other competitors.

Saturday was the actual head-to-head competition. We only went two rounds, and lost both. The biggest problems we had were the slowness of our gun and lack of reliable accuracy from the servo motors. Even though our gun wasn’t that great, we had an incredible time and definitely planned on competing next year.

The rest of the trip went pretty good. The competition only lasted several hours, and we were in Vegas for about two and half days. Jamie and I took the time to walk the strip and go out to eat. I had wanted to see some of the presentations at the event, but only go to see one…most of the time I spent with Jamie out on the town.

When we got back we took some time to clean up the gun and make a video of it. We put it on Metacafe in hopes we would get some money for it. We didn’t get a high enough rating to get any cash, but got over 30,000 views within a month or so. We got our gun on a lot of technology blogs, and are now the number one result for googling “Stage 1 Sentry.”

Link to the video: Stage 1 Sentry