'Space Invaders' with real lasers is delightful, dangerous

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Steve Dent
March 23, 2015 6:46 AM
'Space Invaders' with real lasers is delightful, dangerous

What do you get with a laser cutter, Arduino know-how and way too much time on your hands? A slightly hazardous, live action Space Invaders game, of course! Maker Martin Raynsford created a silly, but wickedly fun real-world version of the classic arcade game just in time for Arduino Day on March 28th. The paper invaders are clipped to a plate that uses stepper motors for left/right and up/down movement, while the 80W laser cutter is driven side-to-side by an Arduino Nano controller hooked up via USB to a PC.

To play, you watch the game via an overhead webcam view and hit the PC keys for left, right and fire. Before playing for real, Raynsford said that "because of the genuine risk of fire with this project I completed a test burn before the main event." During those tests, he found that the paper invaders were too close together, meaning a hit on the intended target could cause others to burn up as well. After some tweaks, he said "the game played well and resulted in flamey death for the Space Invaders and not the laser cutter, (so) I consider that to be a win condition."

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