A Shocking Wizard Duel

You’ve probably heard of Arthur C. Clarke’s third law, suggesting that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Taking this literally and in the best possible way, [Allen Pan] of [Sufficiently Advanced] is using readily available technology to simulate magical wizarding duels in the fashion of Harry Potter.

Entitled the Wizard Analogue No-Magic Dueling Simulator — or W.A.N.D.S. for short — is a slightly more interactive version of laser tag. It’s especially engaging because your body is on the line. A Raspberry Pi using Google’s speech recognition service listens for the spell names and — remember, pronunciation is key — fires off the spell from an infrared LED tipped wand. Each duelist has five spells at their disposal, but their accuracy is up to you.

Once your opponent’s receiver registers a hit, an Arduino triggers transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) devices which sends pulses to various regions on the body to simulate the spell’s effect. What’s a few electrical shocks between wizards, eh?

As a defense from the constant barrage, the spell Protego — aimed at one’s own sensor — grants a few seconds immunity; however all spells have a built-in cool-down to prevent their abuse and an LED on the wand indicates when they’re ready to be used.

The tradeoff to this bit of technical magic is that the spells have a bit of lag before they take effect while voice recognition goes out and hits servers for processing. So this isn’t fast-paced dueling action — yet!

Back in the day, a different kind of wizard operated underground. Today, at least one of them is making use of new printing technologies to keep their passion alive.

[via RaspberryPi.org]

26 thoughts on “A Shocking Wizard Duel

    1. Transcutaneous… so NO needles. I can see how it could make sense– trans (through) cutan (skin) so through skin but in English/medical jargon, transcutaneous is through the skin with electrodes/electricity, not needles. As in transcutaneous cardiac pacing is pacing the heart using electrodes placed on the chest– no needles.

      Through the skin would be percutaneous.

      1. Not only: it supports sound (but it should be muted by default), can be viewed fullscreen without the need for scripts/plugins/whatever, has a much higher framerate (more than 15 FPS is impossible with GIFs), can be streamed to minimize loading time and doesn’t need dithering or palette optimization. It’s easier to edit too.

  1. “You’ve probably heard of Arthur C. Clarke’s third law, suggesting that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

    Assuming physical laws yet undiscovered.

  2. It seems like most wizard duels would devolve into standing there trying to yell louder than the other person so your RPi can hear your command better than the other person. They started with such gusto, but ended up circling each other trying to get in a lucky shot. Perhaps buttons for controlling the spells and require the mic level to be at a certain level before executing the spell would make for a more interesting match. Fighting with google’s speech recognition is not the duel we’re going for. So require some type of sound, honor system that you say the right words (it is larping after all, it’s not fun if you cheat), and then press the appropriate button to reduce the headaches and increase the fun.

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