Mindstorm Autonomous Shooting Devices

Lego Mindstorm based Autonomous Shooting Device.

Strathclyde Design, Manufacture and Engineering Management (DMEM) students have to design and build a device to shoot pellets, balls (or what ever) to knock down small targets.
They get ‘+’ points for knocking down the right targets, ‘-‘ points for knocking down those that they shouldn’t.
The device, once started, should perform autonomously and be controlled by a Lego Mindstorm controller.

They know the targets and their firing area, so have to decide on a specific start point and then calculate the amount of movement required to shift their device’s aiming point both for left / right, up / down and distance. Then program the Lego Mindstorm to move their barrel accordingly.

Remembering that you can’t just blast the area with pellets as you do get marks knocked off for hitting the wrong targets.


A fun but quite demanding project. The groups are typically of four students and must get together and sort out a design. They have to decide on what sort of projectile they are going to use and then how to (accurately!) control and fire it. Then, using a suitable CAD package design their mechanism and submit their design for manufacture. Once manufactured they must then construct the device and sort out the programming of the Lego Mindstorm controller.

Some have tried using compressed air as their energy source, a common one is two contra-rotating spinning wheels. Small ball bearings, nerf gun bullets, elastic bands, all have been used in one way or another.

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