Lasers, Mirrors, and Sensors Combine in an Optical Bench Game

Who would have thought you could make a game out of an optical bench? [Chris Mitchell] did, and while we were skeptical at first, his laser Light Bender game has some potential. Just watch your eyes.

The premise is simple: direct the beam of a colored laser to the correct target before time runs out. [Chris] used laser-cut acrylic for his playfield, which has nine square cutouts arranged in a grid. Red, green, and blue laser pointers line the bottom of the grid, with photosensors and RGB LEDs lining the grid on the other three sides. Play starts with a random LED lighting up in one of the three colors, acting as a target. The corresponding color laser comes on, and the player has to insert mirrors or pass-through blocks in the grid to create a path to the target. The faster you hit the CdS cell, the higher your score. It’s simple, but it looks really engaging. We can imagine all sorts of upgrades, like lighting up two different targets at once, or adding a beamsplitter block to hit two targets with the same color. Filters and polarizers could add to the optical fun too.

We like builds that are just for fun, especially when they’re well-crafted and have a slight air of danger. The balloon-busting killbots project we featured recently comes to mind.

 

11 thoughts on “Lasers, Mirrors, and Sensors Combine in an Optical Bench Game

  1. What an execution, looks beautiful! Does anyone know what the light bending pieces are, espwcially why you need the ones that the beam goes straight through. Is it possible to add splitting and joining of beams on low budget

    1. Thanks Frans :)
      It was a really fun project!
      There are 2 different player pieces, a mirror and a blank.
      The mirror piece is clear acrylic with a 12x3mm hole cut at 45 degrees and a 12x15mm acrylic (3mm) mirror epoxied in.
      The blank is just a straight piece of clear acrylic to convey the light since light likes to expand.
      Those blanks aren’t always needed depending on how long the beam path is so it can be tricky keeping up with it in game play.
      A beam splitter in this case could just be some acrylic 2 way mirror instead of the regular mirror. it’s about 10x more expensive than normal acrylic but since i have some off-cuts on hand from my next project i might give it a go :)

      And yes i combined the red, green & blue beams to make white, and while it did work i swear i still have spot in my vision (super bright, not recommended)

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