LuxBlaster: Blast a Beam of Light at the Most Intense Light Source

HighBeams

[Hazim] wrote in to tell us about his project that teaches inconsiderate drivers a lesson! Well, theoretically. The LuxBlaster is a spot light which points towards the most intense light source.

The idea is that you can blast drivers who do not turn their high-beams off with a reverse high-beam of your own. It is very important to note that this should never be used, as [Hazim] also clearly states. While this project is meant to prove that it can be done (a “what if”) project, it has two components that are very well done and can easily be used in different projects: the Arduino controlled spotlight and the light intensity tracker.

What would you use an Arduino controlled spotlight for? Smart lighting? What about a light source tracker? Let us know in the comments.

59 thoughts on “LuxBlaster: Blast a Beam of Light at the Most Intense Light Source

  1. First thing that came to mind for me was rotating a solar array towards the brightest source! Though that’s been done before… there’s always a place to re-purpose something. :)

    1. my first thought was that it was about defeating pictures from paparazzi, then I though it would only work if it directed by some other means than mechanical to be fast enough so I thought it was more a way to get light-beam communication in an automated way.

      So after seeing the actual suggested use I was a bit disappointed.

  2. convert the light source tracker to encoded IR and have a discrete beacon on the clothing of someone on stage. the beacons could be controlled remotely, to make the spot autolock on a particular person on stage

        1. If only car windows were horizontally polarised and headlamps vertically (also helps with wet road glare), See your wanting to not annoy limits your ability to innovate solutions that address multiple issues.

          1. Umm, how would the light from the vertically polarised headlamps pass through the horizontally polarised car windows to reach the driver’s eyes? See, your inability to think through to a conclusion limits your ability to develop a solution that would work.

          2. How do you see through polarizing sunglasses, Andrew? The light reflecting off the ground is no longer going to be polarized. Only direct light would be.

            Your rush to feel smarter than others makes you look like a moron on the internet.

        2. Unfortunately there is no set threshold for annoyance, nor is there a rule that you have a right not to be annoyed. The problem here is a dangerous situation that may of may not be caused deliberately and how to respond to this.
          Whatever the intent, countering a dangerous situation with another dangerous one can’t be the right thing to do.

          The best case scenario here is that the perpetrator actually wants to annoy you, which is working and in reaction to this you create another dangerous situation. Outcome, the perpetrator has won.

          Imagine that it’s not deliberate, then you are deliberately creating another dangerous situation with the intent of annoying the other person, making you the jerk.

          The advice not to try this on the road is sound advice.

    1. High beams behind me aren’t the problem, its the people coming at you. We need a smart version of the electro chromatic lcd tinting glass for our windshields that will track and dim bright hot-spots from headlights and even when you are driving into the setting sun. The other windows could have the standard dimmable version so you can adjust it for a given situation.

      1. I’ve always thought something like a “smart window” – using LED or LCD “pixels” on one side, with some kind of CMOS or other array on the other side (or multiple cameras combined with software) could be used; then you could not only block out glare (whole window), but also enhance dim conditions, whole-window overlay (via radar or something) in foggy or dusty conditions, etc.

        Extremely “pie-in-the-sky” and it would cost a fortune using today’s tech (plus there’s the fact that it would be a “flat” 2D rendering, it would probably look and feel weird and unnatural to drive – perhaps even dangerous).

  3. Have it track IR sources. If someone is skulking in the darkness, a tracking beam of light might convince them to try somewhere else…

    1. Now THAT is a good idea.

      Actually, if you could access a raw PIR sensor, you have most of what you need right there. They work by using two sensors and detect motion by comparing the two. You should be able to sense direction that way.

      Of course, you would need the PIR to remain stationary. Moving it will defeat it’s purpose.

      1. I saw a project to get direction from a PIR many years ago, in a magazine I think it was, but since then I haven’t seen it anymore. People mostly use the same PIR handling chip for ALL use of PIR. (well amateurs that is, I’m sure the military guys do more).

        1. I believe I had seen the same articles many years ago as well. It was way way back when PIR sensors were a bit different.
          It was theoretical, anyway. Unless you busted open a PIR sensor, you are not going to get access to the raw sensors anyway. Modern PIR sensors are modules with differential pre-amps built in. The output is just an error voltage. When the temperature on both sensors is equal, there is no output.

          The circuit for them is very simple, just an amplifier and a comparator, so a quad op-amp IC is all you need besides a few resistors and a rheostat to set the trigger threshhold of the comparator.

          I don’t believe there is any way to determine direction with a modern PIR sensor. And it certainly wouldn’t give you position information at all.

          The operation of the motion sensor requires that it is stationary.

          Three contactless thermometer sensors with some lenses in a triangle configuration might work, though.

    1. I’ve been tempted on road trips to use my Artic Spider III blue laser to teach the super bright headlight pricks a lesson, sadly it would blind them.

      I guess they wouldn’t know my license plate then probably though :P

  4. I usually just adjust my side views mirrors to reflect their light back at them and they often get the point. If you’ve ever been behind somebody with a poorly adjusted side mirror at night it is very annoying

  5. Waaaay back in the 80′s I had a friend that wired up a pair of landing lights (one front one back) from a Piper Cub on his Carmen Ghia. Somewhat of a hack since if I remember right, the lights ran on a 24v system instead of a cars 12v. You did NOT want to play “whose headlights are brighter”, or ride his tail with your brights on, with this rig. Good times, hard to believe we lived thru it (and without jail time).

  6. if Alec Baldwin had mounted this thing to his head and blasted it at the paparazzi taking invasive pictures of him ….he might have had a different story to tell…LOL

  7. My immediate thought was To use the tracking system with an IR camera and couple it with a machine gun as a poor mans AA gun. And, it shouldn’t take too much coding to program in some velocity and direction of flight compensation to deal with the “fast movers”.

    1. Actually, everything of that sort existed a looooooooong time ago in nature, in one form or another. It’s not like the same problems have never, ever appeared in very different situations. Know how to catch a fly? Turn the lights off right before dropping the cup. Want to hunt pray in mid-air, with them also dodging you? Predator birds have been doing what you described, for millions of years.

  8. I would give it a thermal can and attach it to a machine gun to make a poor mans automated AA gun. It probably wouldnt take too much coding to make it compensate for the speed of the target and direction of flight.

    Alternatly, you could just use the original idea with a .22lr pistol to shoot out the high beams of the inconsiderate prick.

    1. A paintball gun might be breaking less laws, and with no flash or bang won’t attract as much attention as a firearm. And a few black pellets on the lights should dim them quite well.

  9. How about avoiding all this “he started it!” nonsense and work out how to avoid being dazzled? If you’re getting pissed off at a “high beamer” the chances are you’re starting at or towards the source of your annoyance and really stuffing up your night vision. If they’re coming towards you, you’ll have had plenty of warning from their headlights off in the distance or even round the corner/in a dip. Decades ago I was taught to look down and to the kerb/verge and follow the road that way. If they’re high beaming from behind, just dip your rear view mirror and ignore them.

    Either way you’ll keep driving safely, keep your vision and, most importantly, keep calm.

  10. How about avoiding all this “he started it!” nonsense and work out how to avoid being dazzled? If you’re getting pissed off at a “high beamer” the chances are you’re starting at or towards the source of your annoyance and really stuffing up your night vision. If they’re coming towards you, you’ll have had plenty of warning from their headlights off in the distance or even round the corner/in a dip. Decades ago I was taught to look down and to the kerb/verge and follow the road that way. If they’re high beaming from behind, just dip your rear view mirror and ignore them.

    Either way you’ll keep driving safely, keep your vision and, most importantly, keep calm.

  11. Actually I can think of a use for this that would be both safe and legal: camping. It never fails that some dummy pulls into the campground in the middle of the night and, while deciding where to park, leaves his high beams pointed at your tent. This would automatically give such a person a “friendly reminder” without you having to get up and shine your flashlight at them.

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