You’ll shoot your eye out with this laser-filled tennis ball


We love lasers, you love lasers…who doesn’t love them?

[Matt Leone] recently took his passion for lasers over the top and built a little something called the Laser Ball. Fed up with the deluge of of LED cubes floating around online, he says that the Laser Ball is the new sheriff in town – and we’re inclined to agree.

He bored a bunch of holes in a standard tennis ball, and fitted it with 14 red laser diodes. Before he installed the lasers into the ball he modified each with a small bit of diffraction grating to liven up the display. The lasers were connected to a Teensy micro controller, which was stuffed inside the ball along with a small rechargeable LiPo battery.

While the laser ball was pretty awesome already, [Matt] decided that it wasn’t finished just yet. Using an IR remote package from Adafruit, he added the ability to trigger the Laser Ball’s light patterns from afar. You know, just for kicks.

Be sure to check out the video below to see the Laser Ball in action!

via BuildLounge


  1. goebish says:

    What about eyes safety ?

  2. Rocz says:

    outstanding work ;) i like it!

  3. xeracy says:

    I know what im using for a set of POI.

  4. Phrankie says:

    Ugh. Another *-“Labs” person. Labratory? Really? What are you people doing besides what the manufacturers of the consumer-grade products you bought expect you to?

    Come off it.

    Also, while <1mw (I assume they're <1mw) is really low-power, This isn't as smart as you think it is.

  5. Boudico says:

    Much awesome packed into a little ball. Great video as well, especially liked the “oh no” moment with the re-solder. Touching back to the first post, is there a concern about eye safety?

  6. Cruster says:

    Love the video – great project!

  7. Erik Johansson says:

    Basically be careful with 5mW laser and you will be fine. Not something *I* would like to stare into, but you will be fine as long as you try to avoid staring into them for more than a second.

  8. aztraph says:

    Love the build, love the documentary, I cried when the wire broke.

  9. zacdee316 says:

    Great documentation. Those songs fit it perfectly, I especially like when the slow, depressing part of the music coincided with the wire mishap. I think this could be marketed and sold at laser light shows. They could toss it around the crowd.

  10. Phrankie says:

    Unfortunitely they probably couldn’t toss this around in a crowd without everyone signing waivers first, our litigation-happy, decadant western society being what it is.

  11. firestorm_v1 says:


    I have got to build a couple of these for BurningMan. People. Will. Freak. Excellent idea, Great implementation. Thank you.

  12. Skyhook says:

    great video, clever i think,

  13. SpydaMonky says:

    This would get me back into tennis! :)

  14. rskuroi says:

    Now we’ll finally know how Roy Von Baker became king of laser ball?

  15. Kris Lee says:

    It looks like it is filled with hot plasma!

  16. andy123 says:

    dammit gema, how i hate you -.-
    i cant watch this video in germany without a proxy.

  17. KeithFromCanada says:

    …and jugglers around the world suddenly reach for their wallets. :grin:

  18. t&p says:

    >This video is no longer available do to copyright claim by ELO.

  19. Harvie.CZ says:

    Not bad :-)

  20. NewCommenter1283 says:

    that is SO darwin, lolz 50 bucks says poster cant post replys in the next few days… or ever read a computer again.

    AKA: unfair weapon, espically if laser power is upped… and by weapon i mean a blind man is a dead man in war… when real guns are also involved


  21. cdilla says:

    I’d love to see one suspended from an RC quadcopter on a foggy night.

  22. Patrick says:

    I LOVE the Electric Light Orchestra, great choice. Also, great project!

  23. Icarus says:

    Metalocalypse anyone?

  24. M Leone says:

    Thanks for all the comments everyone!

    The Laser Ball has passed all my laser safety tests with flying colors!… :) And just in case you were wondering both my retinas are still in good working order.

    @cdilla – a flying Laser Ball?!… I like it!

  25. DudeGuy says:


  26. Heatgap/Ho0d0o says:

    Bad ass idea! I wouldn’t be able to put this thing down. I’d probably end up chain smoking way to many cigs for the “smoke fx” haha!

    Awesome man, great job. This looks like a blast.

  27. MIke S says:

    Great job on the project, and very nice work time compressing the video too. This looks like something we’d see Hollywood using, great for special effects. And if you hang one from a small helium balloon using a black thread and let it float over a housing tract at night I wonder how many UFO reports it would generate?!

  28. Rob says:

    For everyone worried about blindness, couldn’t just unfocus the laser a bit? Also, wouldn’t this still be pretty impressive as a LED ball? RGB LEDs and juggling would look pretty rad!

    I’ve got some soldering to do.

  29. tazer says:

    It’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye. Then it’s fun and games that you can’t see.

  30. Red Rex says:


  31. markS says:

    Add an accelerometer – then fire it off at the top of a high throw up in the air over a crowd – Looks like some mega weapon designed to kill entire crowds.


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