Hacking Laser Tag And Building Custom Guns

As [Brad] over at the LVL1 hackerspace watched his friend build a Laser tag/tazer mashup for Makerfaire Detroit 2012, he noticed these new laser tag guns were really cool. These Light Strike guns have an impressive array of electronics for a $30 toy, but there was still much to be desired. [Brad] decided to reverse engineer these guns and work on a drop-in replacement for the game’s electronics so people like his friend can hurt themselves more easily.

The Wowwee Light Strike guns operate with IR LEDs, so the obvious solution for decoding the laser tag protocol would be the Arduino IR remote library. [Brad] had a bit of trouble getting his Teensy to read the IR data correctly, but after connecting everything up to a logic analyzer he had the data format figured out.

Now [Brad] has the Light Strike data format figured out and is theoretically able to make his own guns that are compatible with the off-the-shelf laser tag system. It’s also possible for [Brad] to extend the capabilities of this laser tag system by using the ‘health’ function to create a medi gun, or build a gun with a larger magazine for a laser tag mini gun.

If you’d like to build your own version of laser tag compatible with the Wowwee Light Strike, you can grab all the code on [Brad]’s git.

12 thoughts on “Hacking Laser Tag And Building Custom Guns

  1. Nothing beats the style of the original Worlds of Wonder Lazer Tag guns.

    Unlike every other similar system, they were black and compact and sleek, looking like really futuristic weaponry.

    The others look like something kitbashed from leftover model kit parts, like so many 1970’s and 1980’s SciFi TV and movie spaceships.

    1. Oh yeah.. I went nuts the first time I saw the WoW lazer tag commercial. My friends and I were obsessed, had every lazer tag item available. I still have two of the rifles.. I play it with my 13yr old daughter. She loves it too! The new lazer tag sets are ugly, make corny sounds, and just distract from the imagery of the game. I’ve been planning to make my own cool looking laser sets… to be used carefully… need to be careful idiot police gunning us down (even with the white WoW rifles… cops are tigger happy these days)

  2. Very random comment relating to lasertag. The commercial grade lazertag systems use an xbee for wireless and report to a central game server. They also use ibuttons to store player data and allow for system login through lazertag vests. Pretty neat stuff. I’ve worked on a few of the vests and have toyed with the Idea of trying to build my own that would integrate with the commercial systems.

    1. This would be cool, along the lines of the previous Hackaday post about the zapping force feedback controller.

      Even more cool would be to replace the IR emitter in the(now oversized) housing with a real high-powered laser module. Much more realistic, although you would need to make sure every participant wore the appropriate wavelength blocking visors for their eyes…

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