Real-life status bar tracks game character's health

Gamer creates a 3-foot status bar filled with water that changes color and level based on his character's health in the video game Terraria.

An example of the Liquid Lifebar in action. Screenshot by Christopher MacManus/CNET

When trying to survive a harrowing near-death situation in a video game, it's likely that looking away from the action -- even just for a moment to check your health -- could mean certain doom. To avoid this gaming conundrum, Reddit user Bfayer created his own real-life video game status bar in the form of a 3-foot transparent tube filled with water and color-changing lights that shift based on his character's health (or mana, etc).

Bfayer calls his device the "Liquid Lifebar," which currently only works with the side-scrolling exploration game Terraria. The demo video shows the creation of the Lifebar and how the water rises, falls, and changes color according to his character's status as he fights monsters.

Getting the techie tube to establish a real-time link with Terraria took more than 100 hours of tinkering and programming. Bfayer utilized an Arduino microcontroller, an air pump from a fish tank, and other electrical components, as well as some custom-made C# and Java software to operate the dynamic device.

Bfayer wrote on Reddit that the Lifebar does emit a lot of noise and that he doesn't plan on sharing instructions as to how he built it. Hopefully there's some sort of commercial opportunity on the horizon, because the Lifebar could easily capture the attention (and wallets) of teen gamers tired of the traditional lava lamp.

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