Picture of Android-Controlled Pneumatic Cannon Powered By Arduino
Every summer, Qualcomm hosts a Battle of the Schools competition, which gives employees the opportunity to represent their home universities. This year, entries were to be homemade contraptions, and they were judged according to how cool they were perceived to be. Virginia Tech's cannon project tied the University of Michigan for first place. 

The project entailed a pneumatic cannon with valves controlled electronically. When the cannon electronics receive a certain message over Bluetooth, the appropriate barrel fires. On the other side, an Android app uses the phone's Bluetooth modem to send messages to the cannon. This approach allows the cannon to be fired from around a 30-foot range, line-of-sight.

Here is a brief video describing what we'll be making:

We started the project on a Friday night and finished the bulk of by Saturday night. We worked pretty much non-stop, and all had experience working on this kind of stuff. With that said, we'd recommend carving out a whole week if you're working on this by yourself. So now that you're enticed beyond your wildest imagination, let's get started.

Please remember to be safe while building and using this device. You are entirely responsible for what you do with this information.
PyroMonger4 years ago
This is an amazing project *2 thumbs up* ..............my only picky bit is the photo instep two. Your key shows that hardware is red and software is blue but the arduino board is blue :|

Shouldn't it be red? I'm guessing you refer to it as software because of the programming but the board itself is hardware with software on it. Software is non-physical.
Great Project either way
jashock7 months ago

or could you make an iphone app please

jashock7 months ago

is there a way you could make this so that it is powered by the serial monitor

jashock7 months ago

is there a way you could make this so that it is powered by the serial monitor

abunn11 year ago

Great excellent step by step process used a rainbird sprinkler valve only complaint is the cannon is really loud to shoot. Not a bang but a high pitch air horn. I have been doing research trying figure out why its so loud thinking its the valve cause restriction. Ordered a new valve off amazon that has less restriction.

ilya20062 years ago
Awesome Project i just have one question i was trying to put the arduino program into my arduino buy i keep getting this error : serial' was not declared in this scope any suggestions?
vroom3503 years ago
Right, I see PVC is not designed for air pressure, if use PVC how much limits PSI for safely?
Often PVC has a PSI rating printed on it. There is probably a safety factor built into that number but I would still never pressurize all the way to the rating. Watch for any signs of cracking, especially near anyplace you modified (e.g., drilled a hole) the pipe.
bwrussell3 years ago
Great Instructable, this app will hopefully save me a month or two of work learning Java.
I'm trying to install the app but can't figure it out, I'm not sure what file I should be opening. I have Eclipse and all the appropriate add-ons. I guess the problem is I don't know Java orAandroid development. Besides getting the app installed on my phone I was hoping to change the images. I found the images in the files, will it work if I just replace them with my own images with the same names?
Wow! You guys managed to combine my three favorite types of projects! Arduino, Android, and Canons!
I thought I recognized those colors... Let's go!!! HOKIES1!1

i was just there for a CEED camp 3 weeks ago. all the way from CA!!! i wish we could have done something cool like that while I was there. :(
trevor36934 years ago
When you had it at the school you should have filled it with confeti with a backstop of some kind so it rained down on them. Would be awesome to be there during that.
maewert4 years ago
The safety note is *important* and one should not overlook it.  While building a Super squirt gun using 4 inch diameter PVC I accidently over pressurized it to 90 psi before I was able to release the quick release valve (but not quick enough!).  I heard a boom and I was no longer holding onto anything.  The end caps held on by normal pipe glue gave out under the pressure sending a large chunk of it into my face.  I broke the orbit of my eye socket and although I have some permanent nerve damage to some facial nerves, I kept my eyesight.  (At least now I don't need novocane when I go to the dentist!)  My crooked smile is at least an honest smile now.  So... the purpose of my life is to serve as a warning to others...

Best Wishes and Be Safe.