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Analog Laser Guitar Hero

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Being both an analog enthusiast and a lover of Guitar Hero, at times I wonder exactly how the game works and if I could build a standalone version myself. This Instructable shows how to build a Guitar Hero variant entirely out of analog circuits on breadboards. No game console or game software needed. Just build a laser "guitar."

The "guitar" is a series of lasers spaced out like guitar strings. There are eight lasers, one for each note in an octave. Simply input a music stream and the lasers light up synchronized to the notes in the music. Block the lit lasers with your hand to play the notes, which you hear through speakers.

See a demo here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jXdVuBmwm4. (In case you're wondering, the clapping sound in the video is someone clapping two chalkboard erasers together to release chalk dust into the box. The chalk dust illuminates the laser beam trails. There's also some background music playing all the time through the speakers.)


 
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Step 1: Overall Design

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Above is a block diagram of the overall design. Music from a computer is fed into the Note Detection block, which detects which notes are to be played at a given time. That information is sent to the eight lasers. If a note is to be played, the corresponding laser turns on. On the other side of the lasers are eight detectors that determine if you've played a note by blocking the corresponding laser. If you've played a note correctly, that note from the music is switched into a speaker so you can hear it. Otherwise you don't hear the note.
Wow! Amazing work!

Watching you play made made me realize how important pre-note-playing visual queues are in the console game. Have you considered building a couple second delay (understandably difficult: Tape Delay  or Bucket Brigade ) into the system so you can light up an indicator LED before you actually have to play the note?
ruijin224 (author)  T3h_Muffinator1 year ago
Thanks! Yes I did consider adding some sort of analog delay, and found it pretty difficult to implement something on the order of milliseconds. Like you mentioned, tape delay was the most promising solution, but I just didn't have the time to put that in. That would be a great next step for this project. As of now you can think of the system as a cross between Guitar Hero and Whac-a-Mole =)
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