Plugged In

  • Playing 'Space Invaders' with real lasers is scary and awesome

    Chris Morris at Plugged In7 days ago

    Thirty-seven years after its debut, it's still a lot of fun to watch the iconic Space Invaders aliens blink out of existence when your shot lands on screen.

    But watching them catch fire? That’s better. Way better.

    Using a laser cutter, an Arduino mini-computer, and a terrific sense of imagination, a hobbyist in the U.K. has created a real-world version of the arcade classic that literally burns the aliens up when your aim is true.

    "It’s got aliens, lasers and general destruction so what’s not to love, especially if you could replicate most of that functionality in the real world," said creator Martin Raynsford.

    The project took about four months to conceptualize, but once Raynsford knew what he had to do, it took him just a few nights to put together, he says.

    The bug-like creatures are made out of paper in this version, and when hit by the laser, they burst into satisfying flame. The ‘shields’ are made of foam, and just like the game, they block the first shot by the player. That initial volley burns a hole through the shield, though, making subsequent blasts through it possible.

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