Do neighborhood animals dig up your flower beds or get into your trash? Rick Prescott created a computer-controlled "machine gun" to help deter local pests, including the two-footed kind that invade work cubes. Rick mated an infrared sensor with a Nerf-brand gun that shoots spongy "bullets" to create the Infrared-Seeking Sentinel. An Atmega168 microcontroller tracks a heat source and unleashes either a single shot or a fury of automatic fire. Zap, zap, zap. Take that, Mr. Dog.
One of the biggest walls in embedded software development is the integration of low-level drivers with higher-level middleware and application code, but silicon vendors are stepping up to bring it down.
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