Becoming an expert at catching marshmallows in one's mouth takes the kind of skill and precision that, quite frankly, no ordinary human tosser can be trusted with. That's why, in profound matters such as these, it's best to bring out the big guns.
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Putting their tuition money to excellent use, mechanical and electrical engineering students from Olin College have built the Confectionery Cannon, an automatic marshmallow blaster equipped with facial-recognition tracking technology so nary a spongy white puff ever touch the floor.
The team used a plastic tube for the gun's barrel, then tricked it out a with some pretty sweet bells and whistles. Using two nano servo motors and various custom-made components, the group built a reloading mechanism that can fire six marshmallows in less than ten seconds. The gun's air compressor - capable of producing up to 135 pounds per square inch - helps make those long-range blasts possible. Backed by two more servo motors, an angle-feedback potentiometer and high-torque metal gears, the cannon's pan and tilt system hones in on accuracy.
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But the Confectionery Cannon's sweetest component would have to be its face recognition software that helps aim each marshmallow at the recipient's mouth. "We got face tracking with OpenCV for Python and motor actuation through serial communication between Python and Arduino," the group wrote on their website.
It may not hit its mark every time, but since the cannon only cost $250 to build, researchers and their friends can afford to take all the practice shots they need. Learn more about the project here, or check out the video.