The Most Immersive Pinball Machine: Project Supernova

Over at [Truthlabs], a 30 year old pinball machine was diagnosed with a major flaw in its game design: It could only entertain one person at a time. [Dan] and his colleagues set out to change this, transforming the ol’ pinball legend “Firepower” into a spectacular, immersive gaming experience worthy of the 21st century.

A major limitation they wanted to overcome was screen size. A projector mounted to the ceiling should turn the entire wall behind the machine into a massive 15-foot playfield for anyone in the room to enjoy.


With so much space to fill, the team assembled a visual concept tailored to blend seamlessly with the original storyline of the arcade classic, studying the machine’s artwork and digging deep into the sci-fi archives. They then translated their ideas into 3D graphics utilizing Cinema4D and WebGL along with the usual designer’s toolbox. Lasers and explosions were added, ready to be triggered by game interactions on the machine.


To hook the augmentation into the pinball machine’s own game progress, they elaborated an elegant solution, incorporating OpenCV and OCR, to read all five of the machine’s 7 segment displays from a single webcam. An Arduino inside the machine taps into the numerous mechanical switches and indicator lamps, keeping a Node.js server updated about pressed buttons, hits, the “Lange Change” and plunged balls.

The result is the impressive demonstration of both passion and skill you can see in the video below. We really like the custom shader effects. How could we ever play pinball without them?

Continue reading “The Most Immersive Pinball Machine: Project Supernova”

Magic Screwdriver Decides If You Watch TV Or Not


Video projectors are great. They can easily produce a very large image to watch. With that large image comes a large screen, and who wants to look at a large screen when not watching TV? Well, [Steve] didn’t either so he set out to make a powered retractable screen for his projector. The best part about this one is that it is done in true DIY/hacker fashion. The parts used are definitely not intended to be used as anything close to a projector screen and the overall cost is kept to an absolute minimum.

Continue reading “Magic Screwdriver Decides If You Watch TV Or Not”

Adding a home theater without ruining a Victorian home

projector-screen-in-a-victorian-homeWe understand where [John Clarke Mills] is coming from when he says he wants a home theater but not at the expense of dedicating a room to it. His situation is a bit more sticky than most folks in that he has a beautifully kept Victorian era home. Recently he was removing a renovation from ages past that didn’t fit with the style and it gave him the opportunity to build in this hidden projector screen.

Years ago someone walled in this opening and added french doors. After opening up the wall [John] sized up the situation and decided he had just enough room to build a soffit which could hide a rolled up projection surface. He purchased a motorized screen (we’ve seen a few diy projection screens but can’t remember one that rolls up) and built a slot into the design just large enough for the screen to pass through. He’s testing it out in the clip after the break before doing the plaster work.

The columns on either side are his additions as well. The floor of the house is unlevel and one of those columns ended up a full inch longer than the other. We certainly can’t tell.

Continue reading “Adding a home theater without ruining a Victorian home”

128-inch silver screen for your viewing room

This huge projection screen fills an odd alcove in [Dodge Boy’s] screening room. He built it himself for under $200. The materials, tools, and techniques make this a possibility for anyone who wants their own projection setup.

The frame is made of pine 1×3 dimensional lumber. To keep the fabric from touching the supports in the center of the frame he added quarter-round trim to around the perimeter. From there he painted it black and went for a test-fit. The bad news is that the drywall is neither perfectly flat, nor parallel/square. He ended up taking the trim off and ripping down one side of the frame. That did the trick and he went on to stretch spandex over the whole thing. The frame hangs from a french cleat on either side of the opening. From what we can tell, the surface is just fabric and not painted as we usually see with these setups.

[Dodge Boy’s] utility room shares the back wall of the screening room. That’s where he stores the HTPC which feeds he project, with an RF remote to control it through the wall.

[via Reddit]