If the Portal Turret Team sounds unfamiliar that is because last semester they were the Bright Apparel Detection and Suppression System Team. With the same objective in mind this team continues to turn heads with a functional Portal Turret.
The project design is exactly what it sounds like: a turret from the popular video game Portal by Valve Software. A few differences from last semester consists of the turret being reduced to one degree of freedom system in favor of servo motors to control the orientation of the guns. Also the firepower of the turret has been upgraded from Nerf guns to airsoft guns in order to compensate for space confinements, trajectory predictability, and ease of mechanical operation.
Similar turrets have been created by other Universities and are all over the internet, so what makes this turret so special? The difference between these other projects and the Portal Turret Team is that all of the hardware is contained within the Turret itself. This has been the largest obstacle for the Turret, code-named April, to overcome.
While all other Turrets showcased online perform their image processing on a computer with significantly higher processing power and available RAM, the Embry-Riddle turret performs its image processing on a 96 MHz processor with just 32 KB of RAM.
The camera has also been a major challenge for the team as the image processing is very sensitive work and requires large amounts of processing power to identify a specific color within a picture. The team has moved way ahead of where they thought they would be, and have successfully created a printed circuit board and a working design.
One of the coolest parts of the project was during New Student Preview Day where the team was able to present and show all of the incoming students a working Portal Turret. The positive attention that the project has brought to the Computer Engineering Department has been truly impressive, which is one of the main reasons that this project was approved last year.