Blog - Sketching with Hardware

Team 4 – Meme Shooter

Published on: | Author: Tim Kraus | Categories: 2016a, Projects

Hello, we are Tim and Patty and the project we created for this years Sketching with Hardware course is the ‘Meme Shooter‘!


When we first heard about this years theme – ‚Circuit Board Games‘ – a lot of games came to our minds. Dr.Bibber, Halli Galli, Ouija, Hangman – it was hard to decide since every single one could provide endless hacking-possibilities. But after we saw a video of a wooden fair with shooting galleries where you could shoot targets with a lasergun, it became clear that this was the thing we wanted to do. A small shooting gallery – but in a somewhat modified form. The targets shouldn’t look like in the traditional, round manner, but embody something contemporary, funny and/or comical. After ideas about politicians, zombies and alien-targets had been discarded, we went for a theme everyone knows and our generation easily can relate to: Memes.


So, on Wednesday we outlined the outer form and structure of the Shooter and determined the most important hardware components, as there are:

  • the box and objectives made out of wood,
  • 1 laser,
  • 2 seven-segment-displays for the points,
  • 3 photo transistors,
  • 1 Arduinoboard,
  • 3 servos (for the 3 targets) and
  • 3 LEDs attached to the figures, which should blink when the character has been hit.

The concept

The idea behind this shooter is very simple at first, just as in any other shooting game: Point aaand: shoot! If you hit the target, you will get a point. Say, you try to point at the phototransistors attached to the figures and receive one point more, as shown on the digital display above. But our matter of concern went further – the game should have different levels of difficulty. Firstly the figures are connected to a wooden bar attached to a servo, so they are steadily moving from left to right. Moreover we decided to let the targets be getting smaller the further the background gets. Additionally the speed increases with which the characters move to the left and right. In case of a hit, an LED that is fixed to the target will flash, in the next step the shot figure will disappear behind the background to make clear it actually was shot down.

To continue on the schedule, we went to a toy store and bought a plastic gun the same day,  into which Tim successfully integrated the laser pointer on Thursday. Till now everything had been quite relaxed, but by Friday we realized there was a lot to do in order to create a functional but also visually appealing shooter – two facts we considered as our main goals, to make it clear. That day, team 2 went out shopping at Bauhaus and kindly bought material like wood boards for the teams, including ours (Thanks, again!) Now that we had an idea about the size of the board and also the maximum size the lasercutter could chop, we started sketching the components like box, backgrounds,targets and also little ‚servo-boxes‘. (Yes, everything is lasercutted out of 4mm thick woodboards, not cardboard or similar ones;-)) The case dimensions of the box were downloaded via ‚‘ and adjusted at some points with Gimp/Illustrator in order to fit in the backgrounds. Here we went for a brittle brick wall in the foreground, a green hedge in the middle and a cloudy sky in the background. Even working on the code went on and on aswell as some soldering in order to bring the servos up and running while fixed to the targets and the background walls. In the evenings we were happy to see our first prototype-Travolta running 🙂 See it below:



Saturday and Sunday were laser-cut-days! All components which previously had been sketched with Illustrator now were put out by this wonderful, but often annoying fume-producing machine. Tim and me didn’t have an introduction to the lasercutter, but Carl from team 5 helped us out a lot! While Tim kept on working on our code and electronics, I was on the look out for the perfect appearance of our outer shell and chose to paint the box with horizontal stripes in „vintage“ red and white shades which would also match the old styled font we chose for the top of the box.



Bildschirmfoto 2016-04-19 um 23.32.48

Tim got the digital display ready and on Monday we were finally able to assemble everything to a shooting gallery. All we hoped for at this moment was that all components would function in interaction and not just individually. Unfortunately, this didn’t turn out to be the case. Only the LEDs and the lasergun were working properly :/

Tim kept on trying to find the error in the Code throughout the night, but it he tried in vain.

Despite some sleepless nights and the dysfunctionality of our shooter, the course gave us a very fun opportunity to get in touch with hardware hacking! We were confronted with many new, interesting stuff and gained electronic knowledge. The whole group, including our lecturers Bernhard and Thomas was very friendly, relaxed and there was a pleasant atmosphere at any time. Thank you all!

Bildschirmfoto 2016-04-19 um 23.16.53


Last but not least we want to show you an overview of the Memes and the technology we used:

The Memes – our targets


The foremost and therefore the easiest aim to be taken is the “Doge”. Here one could have certainly build in funny sounds like „wow“, „such shooting“, „much skill“ but unfortunately the time was measured too tightly.

“Confused Travolta”

The target used in the middle is the „Confused Travolta“, who turned out to blend in perfectly into the whole surroundings! For this reason we had to laugh a lot since it looks just truly hilarious as Travolta peeps out from behind the bushes.

“Troll Face”

As the rear-end target , we chose a classic face, a monstrous invention out of the Internet, the Troll Face. Again, the shrewd face matches with the cloudy background, in which the most difficult object to shoot hides…

Laser cutting

For the box, the scenery, the targets and all support we went with 4mm wood. This worked well and designing your own parts like the servo mounts was really fun. For the laser cut lettering we went with the free font Chunk Five which worked well with the old-school amusement park style.

Here are all Illustrator files and PDFs to recreate the scenery.



The electronics

Fritzing breadboard view of all components and circuit schematic:
Meme Shooter Fritzing BreadboardMeme Shooter Fritzing FINAL_schem

The laser gun

The gun has an standard 5mW laser pointer wicht runs excellent with a 5V power source. It is mounted in a plastic toy gun from ‘Obletter’. For security reasons the circuit only allows the laser to fire when the physical button on the gun is pressed because it is wired in series. The voltage to the laser can be controlled with a NPN transistor wired to the Arduino. The Arduino also can measure with an analog pin if the laser is firing (assuming it let’s it via the transistor in the first place). This allows us to set a short time period for shooting the laser.

Meme Shooter Fritzing laser_schemIMG_9131

The Targets

Each of the three targets consists of a 9g micro server, a light dependent resistor and a bright red LED. The VT 83 N1  LDRs was chosen because of its big size wich makes it easier to hit. Together with a 10k Ohm resistor the brightness is measured via analog inputs. Because running into trouble while all 3 servos were moving, they got a separate 5v power supply together with the laser diode.


The seven-segment display

Originally it was planned  to use two big 5.6cm LED digits. But powering them with 12V proved to be too difficult. So we went with small standard ones that could be powered of the Arduino’s 5V rail only with a couple 330 Ohm resistors in-between. The two digits are driven via multiplexing. In an enthusiastic frenzy we soldered resistors to all anodes, despite we only needed one on every segment line because of multiplexing.


You can download the Fritzing file here.

The code

Download the complete commented source code archive here:
Meme Shooter source code

Or if you want all files of the whole project in one archive, go for it!

linked categories 2016a, Projects


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