The guys from the House4Hack hackerspace in Johannesburg won the 2011 Google+ Hackathon with their Friggin’ Laser Turret. The build started off as a remote-controlled webcam that can be controlled by anyone in a Google+ hangout. On a whim, the team decided to add a laser to the build because lasers are awesome.
The inspiration for the build was to have a Google+ hangout available whenever someone is at the hackerspace. If a guest can’t grace the team with their physical presence, at least they can be there virtually. The camera is controlled by an Arduino running a bog-standard servo library implementation. The Arduino is connected to a laptop over a serial connection and is able to move left and right. To spice things up a little, the team added a 25mA laser diode to the build controlled from a digital output on the Arduino.
For winning the Jo’burg Google+ Hackathon, the guys scored themselves a Samsung Galaxy S II phone. Not a bad prize for building something cool. Check out the demo of the friggin’ laser turret after the break.
13 thoughts on “Google Hangout Laser Turret”
They need a finer level of control, so people who are using the camera can use the laser to point at things to get the attention of other people in the room.
Cool idea Dax, probably go for a slider – the translation should be straight forward. Also, Google+ Hangouts have this concept of shared state, so that could work to keep the different viewers in sync.
Dude, where’s the shark? That thing needs a friggin’ shark. Sharks with lasers!
There should be a mirror on the wall next to it so remote operators can see the camera and laser (and shark). ;-)
Haha, yes that never gets old :) Definitely need stronger lasers though
My favorite remote camera control interface is a stitched panorama photo of the entire camera field of view, where the remote operator clicks a position on the panorama photo to move the camera to that position. This requires some calibration, but is very intuitive. With navigation arrows, for some applications they move the camera, and for other applications they move the field of view (opposite servo direction). Clicking an image does not have that point of confusion.
Rob, that is an excellent idea! Thanks for the tip – very easy and intuitive to implement
Hackerspaces Unite! Post bill of materials and instructions please?? This would be a great way to have talks broadcast to other spaces!!
Or would you prefer this communication off list??
Charlie, will do so – check the post later for some instructions and link to github
Github, eh? :) Let’s hangout soon and get code etc. bundled..
Add some code so the laser can flash morse!
I would pay for a modified version with a mounted IR array & HD camera, perhaps also a passive IR to start scanning when body heat is detected.
It would then scan for & track initially whole bodies to take photos of clothing, then when face is found it would optically zoom in to the face(s) to take close-up photo or perhaps video.
This would be my perfect security camera. Low-res cameras would suffice, but only if the images were of sufficient quality to identify candidate faces & then quickly zoom in to capture them.
25mA seems kind of overkill, since it’s way more than needed to be well visible, and into the range that causes eye damage.
Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)