Origin: Watchdog 2000

April, 1995

In my Senior year of my Bachelor degree, I was required to submit a senior project for my capstone classes as a significant part of my final grade.  I had one course for my core major (Systems Analysis) and another for an elective “Special Interest” track (Electrical Engineering).  In an effort to reduce work for myself, I developed a plan to submit a single project for both classes.  This was the genesis of the idea for “Watchdog 2000”.

Watchdog 2000 was a home security system I developed.  It included software running on a PC that interfaced with sensors in the real world via the 15-pin game port (Digital IO).  The sensors included a door sensor (magnetic), a window sensor (magnetic), a floor pressure sensor, a motion sensor, a glass-break sensor, and a smoke detector.  I was required to team with at least 2 classmates, but had already written most of the software, so I asked them to design a build a scale model house so we could wire in the sensors and demonstrate the capabilities of the system.

Watchdog 2000 software components were written in Borland C and Visual Basic 3.  It included a basic 3 main modules:

SECURE.EXE:  the VB3 front end GUI used for management of the system.

WATCH.EXE:  The DOS-based TSR app written in Borland C that monitored the sensors

VERIFY.EXE.  The VB front end GUI used for password verification.

In addition, I build some circuitry in a project box from Radio shack that connected the 15-pin Game Port to the various sensors.  I connected some speakers to the sound port and even had it make a dog-barking sound when the door was opened and the system was armed (thus the name Watchdog).  We wired up the sensors to the scale model and the demonstration went flawlessly – the professors were blown away.  The final report was about 150 pages and fit into a 3-ring binder.  I’ve kept it through all these years as a reminder of how far the system has evolved.

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