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(Updated with new pictures) Student reveals the origins of his real-life Portal turret

Making a working turret that tracks movement and shoots at its targets is challenging enough, but Penn State University student Kevin Swanson had an extra objective for his final Advanced Mechatronics project; it had to look like a turret from Portal, the popular puzzle game/shooter from Valve.

“My professor, who is obsessed with Portal, told us as a semi-joke [that he'll] only allow it if the turret looks like the Portal turret,” Swanson told GamesBeat in an exclusive interview. “I just kind of ran with it from there.”

The robot uses an IP webcam to track targets and fire bullets. “The idea started with us playing with one of those USB desk turrets, and we wanted to automate it with a camera for our final project,” said Swanson. Don’t worry, this machine isn’t deadly. It just fires soft Nerf darts, but the bizarrely adorable device still talks to its would-be-victims, just like in the game.

“It’s not done yet,” Swanson told us. He’s still working on the familiar, egg-shaped casing for his machine. “I’m looking at about another month, and it should look just like the turret form the game.” We look forward to seeing the final project…as long as it’s still loaded with just Nerf ammo.

You can see the robot in action and learn more about how it works from Kevin’s video, posted below.


UPDATED: Kevin was kind enough to send us some pictures of the development of his incredible machine.

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