Is it possible to make a light gun for an LCD screen? Kickstarter is already collecting money
Experienced gamers remember game consoles that allowed a fantastic thing: you could pick up a plastic gun, aim it at a regular TV screen - and shoot down ducks flying around the screen. At a young age, we have not wondered how it works. And if you were thinking, you still could not understand.
In fact, a device called the "light gun" worked on a simple principle. It was a reverse system where, in reality, it was not the gun that “shot”, but the TV, that is, a bright spot on the screen. And in the barrel of the pistol a narrowly focused photo detector was installed, which reacted to this spot at the moment of pressing the trigger.
If you accurately aimed, the hit was counted. Knowing this principle now, one could experiment, “shooting” a light bulb or a bright window, but those years could not be returned.
Light guns were sold as optional accessories or were bundled with NES, Sega Megadrive, and SNES game consoles. The gun was used in the games of Duck Hunt, Clay Shooting and some action movies. Interestingly, the light gun in the home console often did not require calibration: it worked out of the box.
Is it possible to create a similar light gun not for a CRT TV, but for a modern LCD screen? Some believe it is possible. Recently Kickstarter launched a new campaign to raise money for the manufacture of such a gun, compatible with the LCD. The collection of money was launched by an unknown firm, Sinden Technology, this is her first project and it looks like there is only one person behind it, so you should treat it with a certain degree of skepticism. But it's still interesting to see how this crazy guy wants to make the light gun work with an LCD TV. It will be the first light gun in the world, capable of directly shooting an LCD screen without pre-calibration, without an additional Kinect-type touch panel and with a three-dimensional orientation of the gun in space relative to the TV.
The basic principles of a guy with an Indian accent explains in the video "How it works?"
According to him, the device works as follows. In the barrel of the gun is mounted USB-camcorder high resolution, aimed at the TV, which should shoot and recognize the picture with the LCD. Other hardware is also installed in the body of the gun, which records the trigger presses and mouse clicks on the computer.
Here, in the video, he says, a prototype of cheap plastic is shown, and this device supposedly has a cool specially designed design.
The gun is connected to software that knows what needs to be displayed on the TV screen. For example, this is realized by connecting to the video output channel on the TV. With this information, the light gun can easily identify objects on the screen.
Since the software is connected to the video output and receives a picture from a USB camera in real time, it can accurately calculate at which point on the screen the gun is aimed.
By distorting the image and the location of its corners, the software understands when the light gun is angled to the screen. Thus, a three-dimensional positioning of the pistol in space relative to the TV. Theoretically, it is possible to calculate the specific coordinates of a pistol in a room: this allows not only to shoot at the target, but also to move back and forth and left-right in the virtual space.
According to the author, the processing of each frame from the camera takes 5−10 ms. Frames arrive every 33 ms. Thus, the delay is about 40 milliseconds and is acceptable.
In addition to games, such a gun can be used as an input device for a computer screen, if a TV is used as such a screen. The video shows how the gun controls the movement of the cursor on the screen in the Windows operating system.
The result is a cheap and convenient alternative to modern systems of virtual reality, and here you do not need to wear a helmet and install additional cameras in the room to remove the position of the gun in three-dimensional space. Just turn on the TV, take the gun in your hands - and shoot like in childhood.
In theory, the gun can even be made in a metal case for special realism.
At the moment, the project has collected at Kickstarter only $ 3,615 of the planned $ 327,840 (conversion from 250,000 pounds). In the finished gun offer to invest 100 pounds, and then they promise to send him in March 2019.