Ah, the amazing world of Lego, where you can practically create anything with those colorful bricks. And when we say anything, we mean it. A giant Lego blaster gun that can shoot Lego figures in both the virtual and the physical worlds? Yes, it can and has been done! This Hyperreality Lego Rifle created by James Bruton is a piece of sheer genius. It comes with a monitor displaying the virtual equivalent of the physical space. When you point and shoot at the virtual figures then the physical Lego figures collapse too! Now that is one incredible invention.
James created this giant Lego blaster with some enormous 3D printed Lego bricks, a few of them specially designed to hold the monitor and the electronics in place. He then uses an HTC VIVE VR system that synchronizes the virtual and physical worlds in terms of space. For all those who are lost at this point, what this does is translate the position of your gun in the virtual space to that in the physical space, so that when you point at the virtual figures, the actual physical figures will fall. Sounds complicated? Well, it does take good coding skills and a lot of trial runs to come up with a program that can do this. If you do not possess such talent, simply relax and watch the video instead!
So basically as you move the gun in the physical world, the scenery in the monitor changes, as per the angle of your Hyperreality Lego Rifle. When you are aiming directly at a virtual Lego figure, just shoot to see the physical Lego figure topple. How does this happen? James has designed a pretty neat solution for this problem. Each physical Lego figure rests on a platform that has a motor driven trigger that can make the figure fall off. This trigger is controlled by an Arduino Uno that serially communicates with the HTC VIVE to know exactly when to turn the motor on. When you hit a figure in the virtual world, the HTC VIVE sends a signal to the Arduino, which makes the figure tumble in real life as well. Whew, it is way more fun to watch this giant Lego blaster in action than it is to understand its science!
This technology is pretty cool though and can be expanded to gadgets that can be used for shooting practice. This juxtaposition of virtual reality and physical reality on top of each other is referred to as hyper-reality by James, hence the name Hyperreality Lego Rifle. When the powers of Lego bricks and engineering collide, they produce such mind-blowing gadgets. If this proof of concept version created by James is so stunning, imagine what an industrially produced gun would look like! This is an excellent way to indulge in a round of shooting without bullets flying in all directions. However, make sure to not leave any Lego figures lying about on the floor, the pain of stepping on a Lego is much worse than that of being hit by a bullet! – Click here for more amazing LEGO builds!