Kinect Kannon

How to setup KinectKannon

More info about the Kannon can be found on Steven’s GitHub & Blog
Software Setup:
Get a computer setup with decent specs and usb 3.0 (X1/SP3) with Visual Studio
Install the Kinect 2.0 SDK
Install Phidgets drivers
Clone the repository from github
Open the .sln file in visual studio

Hardware Setup:
Make sure the surge protector is connected to an outlet and illuminated

Check all outlets in the surge protector

Connect the white ‘normal’ sized usbs to the hub.

And connect the single hub to a usb 2.0 on your computer

Make sure the Hub is powered with the small dc power adapter

Connect the Kinect USB 3.0 to your usb 3.0 port. The Kinect has the more dense cord and the blue usb tip.

Locate the Xbox controller and make sure you have adequate battery power

Locate your co2 bottle. This is a bit tricky. 

The hose coming from the cannon portion needs to be attached to the bottle

First take dial on curly hose and rotate all the way to the left (lefty loosy)
You’re moving the pin away from the pin so you can connect to the bottle without freezing your hand

Now righty tighty the bottle onto the curly hose. Make it snug.

You can now righty tighty the dial from the hose to the tank. You should feel the hose take on the pressure

If you hear/feel leaking, lefty loosy the dial on the hose connector and retighten the bottle to the hose.

Leaks are not your friend

Loading the kannon

T shirts folded once and then rolled tightly and wrapped with rubber bands work well.
The tighter the fit the farther the launch.
So if you’d like to launch further you may want to fold the shirt in thirds!

Now you are ready to run your code!

Start the program using our favorite green arrow

All is good if app says system ready in the top right corner

Power on your Xbox controller

This will be how you interface with the Kannon

There are three aiming modes which can be selected using the X, A, and B buttons

Manual (x button):
Full (x, y) axis control using the left stick
Keep the kannon facing forward. Turning too far can break connections and render the Kanno

Tracking (A button):
The Kannon will detect people using the skeleton tracking and attempt to move the crosshairs to the center of the body.

WARNING the tracking feature may throw in an exception which will result in the Kannon losing control and reeling to the right. This puts it at risk of breaking connections and rendering the device useless.

To mitigate the risk
Be near the kannon you may have to physically stop it from turning
Once you stop it from moving, it will continue to resist, Stop and Start the Visual Studio Project. It will enter back into manual mode and you can move it back to center
Keep the controller in hand ready to switch to manual mode if the device begins to move hard right

Also, in tracking mode. If you have several people lined up in front of the Kannon you can switch between targets using the D-Pad on the controller. This is a bit buggy as the skeletal tracking hops in and out your selections may not register. Moving back to manual mode will reset the selection capabilities. Now go back to tracking and try using the D-pad again.

Audio (B button):
Audio mode will use the array of microphones to detect the direction of sound and move the kannon towards the loudest noise.
Commanding it like a dog works pretty well, or if you can get someone to laugh. “Come here kannon!, Good boy!”
You are still in manual control of the Y axis. It will pan left and right, but you can aim up and down.

Other Features

Night vision
To enable night vision in any mode simply press the y button, and press y to turn it off

The program uses a text to speech library to speak current state if you can plug your computer into speakers during a demo it can have a great effect!

Safety and Firing
In all aiming modes the kannon is capable of firing.
To toggle safety hit the RB and LB buttons simultaneously
You’ll see firing enabled come through on the display
Once the safety is off pull both triggers (LT and RT) to fire
Just like a real gun. Turn on your safety once fired

If phidgets driver offline
Check your phidgets control panel (Search Phidgets Control Panel)
If the there are two devices connected
We have a USB issue check this forum for more info:
Basically, you have to find the program that is using the USB and close it.
Or move to another more stable computer and load the program there
If the devices do not show up in the control panel
Check your connections
The phidgets controllers are connected using the white USBs
One leads to the valve switch controller on the back
That’s the relay panel mounted on the back of the box, the USB has a tendency to fall out so double check
One leads to the servo controller (The black box with the foam handle)
Check that controller is turned on, the switch can sometimes be accidently knocked off.
You should be able to see a small red light from the box.
Also check the fuse.

Hope this helps get you started!
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.

I’ll be posting edits as I find ways to clarify.

Here's the Kannon hanging at Stanford
Here’s the Kannon hanging at Stanford

Pin Putty.exe to Start Menu In Windows 10

When working with the cloud a any remote device being able to quickly SSH into a box is important for maintaining focus.

So, I was pleased to find a way to keep putty two clicks away by placing it in the start menu.

Here are the steps I took to keep putty handy.
And an alternate way below if you’re familiar with downloading .exe’s.

1. Download putty.exe

Notice save and the small black arrow next to it?
Notice save and the small black arrow next to it?

2. Save it to your download files
3. Go to downloads folder
Now you can navigate to the downloads folder from the downloads bar
Now you can navigate to the downloads folder from the downloads bar

4. Right click and select pin to start menu
5. Then right-click -> cut putty.exe from your downloads file and move it someplace more permanent like you’re program files.
6. Go find putty in your start menu!

Alternatively you can also save putty directly to your program files.
1. Download putty.exe
2. When the download bar appears select “save as” under the black arrow next to save.

Notice save and the small black arrow next to it?
Use the small black arrow in the circle to find “save as”

3. Navigate to your program files.
This is the folder I have chosen for putty
This is the folder I have chosen for putty

4. Select save.
Here is the save button. Notice the file path. You need to navigate here to find putty in the next step.
Here is the save button. Notice the file path. You need to navigate here to find putty in the next step.

5. Open file explorer to the file you saved putty in
6. Right click on putty and select pin to start.
7. Go find putty in your start menu.

You can resize and move the putty icon to your hearts content and never go searching for your SSH client again!

After Frisbee Chow Town
After Frisbee Chow Town

First Login with Raspberry Pi using Windows 10

Since I’m now running full steam with Windows 10 I have run into a couple understandable documentation issues for the raspberry pi B+.

I’ll be doing my best to fill them out as I learn about this device.
So far no major issues, but one thing to clear up.

Consider this a Windows 10 companion article to Adafruit’s Console Cable guide.

The raspberry pi made it to me faster than the HDMI cord did, so I had no way to see what was happening on the device.

Luckily I purchased the Pi as part of a kit from Adafruit and it contains a console cable. A cool way to get to your Raspberry Pi’s console and start learning about the device.

So I was following along with this tutorial from Adafruit. And found this warning.

But I went ahead and gave it a shot.

  • Going to this site
  • Clicking on the
  • Saving it and extracting it to a folder on my desktop
  • Running the PL2303_Prolific_DriverINstaller_v1.10.0.exe
  • Plugging in the GPIO leads*
  • Plugging the USB end into my computer
  • Finally Viewing the device in my device manager**.


There it is under COM3!

I continued with the instructions given by Adafruit for PuTTY configuration***.

Remember the default username is ‘pi’ and the password is ‘raspberry’

I found this diagram and site helpful for understanding what the differences were between the B and B+ GPIO ports. Its from Raspberry Pi Spy.

** You can view exactly which port to use in the device manager which can be found by right clicking on the start menu.

***I would suggest pinning PuTTY to your start menu because I tend to lose it and it is great to have on hand when needing to SSH in Azure, Linux Server, or any other place you need to get Console/Terminal access.

Merry Retro Christmas from my Mom and her Brothers and Sisters from long ago!
Merry Retro Christmas from my Mom and her Brothers and Sisters from long ago!