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Laser cutter modded to destroy physical Space Invaders

The awesome zapping power of a laser cutter is harnessed to dispose of an invading space army in fiery style.

Laser cutter Space Invaders
These invaders don't stand a chance. Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

When you play the classic Space Invaders arcade game, a laser beam makes the little alien attackers explode into pixelated puffs on impact. Martin Raynsford of laser cutter retailer and maker site Just Add Sharks has figured out how to make Space Invaders a lot more realistic. Naturally, his solution involves a laser cutter.

Raynsford's Physical Space Invaders Game is a delightfully visceral take on the classic arcade experience. Laser strikes result in a satisfying burst of flame. The player has an extreme advantage in this version of the game since the aliens can't move very quickly and the fire tends to consume the invaders' adjoining colleagues. Also, the aliens can't fight back.

The game functions thanks to a modded laser cutter. It's controlled by an Arduino and experienced through a laptop. The action happens onscreen with real-time video from a webcam mounted for an overhead view of the action. The invading force is made of paper, which is why the aliens catch fire so nicely when blasted.

The game even has green U-shaped shields to replicate the original gameplay. The shields are made from foam and absorb the first laser shot.

Raynsford says it took four months of working up the idea and then another four to five nights implementing it. Laser cutter enthusiasts will appreciate delving into all the details of the Space Invaders build on the maker's blog.

(Via Boing Boing)