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How to Build your own Lightgun

Untill fairly recently, building somethgn bespoke like your own lightgun would have been a huge task. You would have had to source al the parts yourself, somehoe get pcbs made and then you would have needed custom chips to actually do what you wanted them to do.

The advent of the Audrino and the surrounding ecosystem has bade that sort of thing far far easier.

The Audrino is a small programable microcontroler that you can easily connect to and that has a range of almost plug and play sensors available for it. Its designed for rapid prototyping of electronics.

YOu are able to program the chips on the Audrino board to do somethign with the inputs it gets and then output someting.

Importantly for building a lightgun, there are sensors that enable you to detect some LED’s and then work out the center position relative to them. So, if you position them around your TV, you can point the gun at the tv and the Audrino can work out where you are aiming and output some mouse coordinates.

This is actiually how most light guns that work on modern tvs work now. The Wii remote works like this with an LED bar above the screen and a sensor in the remote.

Its also how the Aimtrak lightguns work. These are probably the best lightguns that you can currently buy that work on modern tvs.

This project to build your own lightgun should be about as accurate as the Aimtraks and it should actually cost you significantly less.

You can check out the project on Hackster here:

https://www.hackster.io/samco/samco-arduino-powered-ir-light-gun-mouse-05d110

Its a very simple project to build. If you buy the PCB (check ebay.au) then it is basically just plugging everything in and loading the software.

Watch this video to get an overview:

You will need:

  • An Adafruit ItsyBitsy M0 – I’m pretty sure that the M4 would work if the M0 is out of stock.
  • DFRobot Gravity: IR Positioning Camera For Arduino
  • A PCB made by Samco (not essential but will make it much easier)
  • An Gcon shell
  • And several other parts all linked and listed on the hackster project page

You can see a thread on Arcade controls where the author is pretty actice talking about the gun here:

http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=160517.0

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