One day a young Maker will come up with an invention that solves a real world problem. Today, however, is not that day. That’s because 19-year-old developer Michael Reeves has built a robot — made out of a “sturdy yet flexible, lightweight yet robust” pizza box — which uses facial recognition to shine a laser into the eyes of anyone who walks in front of it.
The “innovative design” consists of two servos for pan and tilt, an Arduino to serve as the bridge between the servos and software, a cheap Logitech 9000 Pro webcam, and a laser pointer, of course. Reeves wrote the blinding bot’s code in C# using WinForms for UI and the Emgu CV image recognition library (a .NET wrapper version of OpenCV).
According to the college student, here’s how the system works:
The software processes incoming video from a live camera and searches for faces or human figures. If a detection is made, the system outputs coordinate data via serial port, which is interpreted by additional software compiled on a microcontroller. The data is parsed and signals are sent to two servos arranged in such a way that one carries out the X value and the other carries out the Y value of the coordinates. A laser is attached to the Y servo so that it points to the position of the detected object, ultimately shining a laser in your face.
Although you should probably never build one yourself, Reeves has shared the robot’s source code and put together an in-depth video that can be seen below! Admittedly, this project started as a joke, but quickly evolved into a personal challenge of his ability…