Grand Prize winner in the contest, the gun's inventor will receive $1,000 and a
chance to sell the device in the Maker's Market. The contest, sponsored Alibre Inc., Allied Electronics and Texas Instruments, requires that entrants create
a gadget, document their build, and incorporate sensing, motion, timing or
Rick Prescott, inventor of the winning device,
outfitted a Nerf Vulcan EBF-25TM foam dart-shooting machine gun with Devantech
TPA thermopile sensors and an ATmega168 controller in his effort to create a
heat-tracking toy machine gun. In his entry, Prescott wrote that he harbors "grand plans to deploy the infrared seeking
sentinel facing the entrance of my work cubicle in order to speed interaction
with less desirable visitors."
The contest's website says that "we had lots of great
entries and were really splitting hairs among the top five or so." Second prize
went to Miles Moody, a student at the University of Florida
who developed a way to locate the bus that he rides to school every day. His entry employs GPS data
and Internet information to compare the location of the bus to the location of
his apartment, and then illuminate a light on the device when the bus draws
near. "The device will light up one of three LEDs: Red if no bus is close;
yellow if a bus is somewhat close; and green if the bus is coming and I need to
hightail it out of my apartment," Moody wrote in his entry. "For the green
case, a piezo buzzer also sounds so I don't have to be looking at the device
all the time."
Third prize winners included devices called a "Not
Lazy Susan" and a "Magic 8 Ball Mod."
Inventor Dustyn Roberts combined a rotating platform with an infrared LED and a
phototransistor to create the Not Lazy Susan table centerpiece that turns in
response to the wave of a hand. Mariano Alivira employed an OLED screen, an
accelerometer and a microcontroller with wireless capabilities to create custom
messages and provide a new twist on the classic Magic 8 Ball"
Click here to see photos and video of the winners.