Life meter gives a real life measure of video game health


This hack makes the virtual real by displaying your video game character’s health meter as a column of illuminated water.

The build video, which you’ll find embedded after the break, is really quite remarkable. The column is a clear piece of pipe anchored at one end by hand-tightened plumbing drain fittings. This allows [Bfayer] to attach a flexible bladder which he constructed for the project. An actuator pushes a hinged board up against the bladder to raise and lower the water level in the tube.

Alone that’s pretty impressive, but [Bfayer] went the extra mile and then some. He uses a four-way fitting at the bottom of the meter. One fork connects to the bladder, another allows air to be injected using an aquarium pump. The bottom of the fitting has a clear window so that an RGB LED array can shine into the water which was doped with highlighter ink to pick up the colored glow. To pull the whole thing together he coded the custom control interface seen above.

[via Reddit]


  1. Sobachatina says:

    Wow! That is beautiful! Very nice work.

  2. generjones says:

    Very clean work, and a fantastic video.

    I’ll need to see if I can finagle some funds at work to do something similar.

  3. oo….very nice. add quinine and use UV led. instant fluorescence

  4. Joejoedancer says:

    That is the coolest useless machine ever

  5. Very beautiful!

  6. DJFalcon says:

    Health bar?

    No, I don’t think so. It’s blue. This is OBVIOUSLY mana.

  7. Geebles says:

    Wow I’m impressed how neat the whole thing is :)

  8. Vonskippy says:

  9. biozz says:

    its very impressave and nice idea! … but i garentee you that window on the bottom will rupture

  10. Hans Peter says:

    That is very impressive! I am amazed by the adjustment speed! Very good job!

  11. Jason says:

    If offered as a kit I would diffidently buy one or at least the software.

  12. Kearney Lackas says:

    This has moved up to the top of my project list. Very well done! The response time is impressive. The durability of the bag would be my only concern.

  13. aztraph says:

    nice response time, how does the bag hold up under repeated compressions? hope it doesn’t spring a leak.

    • Greenaum says:

      I have half an idea it’d be better to use a bladder that variably fills with air, to displace water up and down the tube. That way the water isn’t held in a bag, it’s held in a solid tank at the bottom. If the bag breaks it just means the machine stops working, rather than flooding anything.

  14. Tommy says:

    Music equalizer? couple of those tubes and ur set to go. Nice work Mike.

    • Josh C says:

      thats what i was thinking. i am thinking 7 of them. and in-between them putting a steady stream of water in a tube, with a speaker next to the stream, so you can see it… i don’t know how that would work thoe.

  15. dext0rb says:

    This is a really sweet effect. Nice build and very good video!

  16. I love this.. I have been wanting to spruce up my office/battlestation.. going to build some lighted movie poster boxes to house some game posters… This would be awesome to mount under my desk so just the tube comes through.. I see he used an tconfig to get the health level from terraria.. but do the major game engines have a way to hook into them for this kind of information? or would I have to make profiles for each game I play and figure out where the health level is stored in RAM and monitor it there?

  17. Bloodlock says:

    now…. only needs mana and stammina metters… =P

  18. fly says:

    Awesome stuff!

    But I can’t believe nobody asked that yet: What’s the name of the game in the video? :)

  19. Nod says:

    Awesome… Can make it link to your bank and show how close to the red you are. For a video game its kind of hard to look away from the screen to see it, good visual in a game room, I would still do it. make it so your chair is at the right comfortable height when you have full health, and drop your seat as you loose health, this will make it really noticeable when you need to get health. plus autoit and pixelsearch function(to see if there is a color a certain spot), possible to get banned)

  20. Reblogged this on Julio Della Flora.

  21. Sora says:

    How or did you set up your program to correspond with the health of all games?

  22. michael chambers says:

    Make it look like Diablo’s life and Mana bar, and I will buy.

  23. Glen says:


  24. I’d rather have a video-game-style bar that displayed how much real-life health I had.

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