HUD for real life capture-the-flag

If you’ve played any of the Splinter Cell games you’ll remember the PDA that [Sam Fisher] carried around with him.  What if you could have one of your own when playing capture-the-flag? [Brad] has created the ZephyrEye as an electronic command and communications device for real-life games.

Each player carries around their own unit. The ZephyrEye has a GPS module, Xbee module, LCD screen, and control buttons. This allows a player to setup one of several different games, map out the game field including base locations and flag locations, and monitor a time limit and scoring. Other players can join the game in progress. The best part? The GPS modules report tracking to each handheld and act as radar for your team and the enemy team. We’ve got a couple of demo videos after the break.

Words can’t describe how delighted this would have made us back in the day. We don’t play outside with the other neighborhood kids anymore (insert dirty-old-man joke here) but that might change just because of this device. We may end up joining [Barney Stinson] for some amazingly awesome laser-tag games after all.

[Brad's] posted hardware information and source code so that you can use to throw together a dozen or so units. We think the next version should incorporate a wearable display.

[via Tom's Guide]


  1. monkeyslayer56 says:

    seriously a few weeks ago i had this idea..even planned it out but didn’t have the money to actually do it…

  2. clinton says:


  3. amidoinitrite? says:

    It’s cool and maybe I’m missing the point, but couldn’t this same thing have been accomplished by writing an iPhone App?

  4. hum4n says:

    I am working on an Android app for this, it seemed easier than fabricating new hardware :D

  5. Marco says:

    Congratulations on getting this in a nice and presentabe form. I have worked with that project box in the past and it’s rather painful to deal with.

  6. Thanks for the nice comments, guys!

    I thought about making a cell phone app at first too, but I was pretty sure I didn’t want to take my cell phone paintballing … especially if it was expensive!

    It costs about $200. I’m working towards getting started on Revision 2, which would have a lot more features: clear-epoxy filled case that can take direct paintball impact like a champ, capacitive touch buttons, digital compass for heading compensation, helical GPS antenna, and others. If anybody wants to chime in and help out, feel free to join the Google Code project at

    I’m also willing to mail my spare circuit boards (about 6) to anyone interested in making some and developing it further!

  7. @hum4n: wow, i’ll want to try that =D

  8. cyrozap says:

    A paintball gun-mounted version would be awesome.

  9. PSN Cards says:

    We talked about this in my electronics class, seems pretty cool.

  10. psuedonymous says:

    Nifty! Though technically not a HUD (you cannot keep your Head Up and still read the display).

  11. Telephoneman says:

    This would make paintball so much cooler!

  12. cynic says:

    Wonderful work brad! I’d love to play with these, adding similar functionality to swarming robots for example.

  13. MS3FGX says:

    Pretty cool project (obviously not a HUD, but I am guessing that is HaD’s misrepresentation, as usual), though at $200 a pop I am not sure how this is any safer or economical than using a second hand G1 or something.

    Though I could see this working as a commercial product in the long term, especially the hopper version.

  14. amk says:

    @MS3FGX, the hopper version would be closer to a real HUD, good idea.

    As a commercial product this would cost far less. Plus who wants their fancy phone exposed to paintball fire? I can see this becoming standard issue for paintballers. Awesome job.

  15. markii says:

    wow man this is a very very excellent device! i love it!!!

  16. EarlJr says:

    I am suddenly finding myself wanting to add the sound effects from the Aliens motion tracker.

  17. I looked into this before as part of an advanced lasertag system. I thought the $25 HUD would be a good match for this type of device. The biggest problem is someone going stealth by leaving this somewhere and relying on mk 1 eyeball. The lasertag system made this the core processor for the kit, so without it the gun wouldn’t work.

  18. wat? says:

    I could see this easily being rebuilt and repurposed into a “find my child/family member” product. It’s small, easy to use, and gives a graphical direction and distance, which I think is more than most products offer.

  19. googfan says:

    that’s pretty clever

  20. HUDdite says:

    patent it and sell it to the army.

  21. Merried Seinor Comic says:

    @ HUDdite

    And then buy an arduino so you can do some REAL hacking.

  22. Bryan says:

    Soooooo cool

  23. yuppicide says:

    This is sweet and yes it makes me want to go outside and play again. Being that I’m in my 30’s I guess it would be okay to use this during paintball.

  24. CyberKing says:

    cool, I have so got to make myself a clone of one of theese. i say clone because it is pattent pending y’know

  25. CyberKing: Please don’t mislead people – this is an open source project now. Everything needed to make a ZephyrEye, including circuit board CAD files and source code, is freely available. Anyone is welcome to make as many as they like.

  26. Digitürk says:

    t mislead people – this is an op

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