Want to build a crappy robot for annoying people with a laser pointer? Want to know which robots to avoid when you see them? Those are two good reasons right there!
One of the most exciting parts of this job is getting a glimpse at what kind of innovations the next generation of socially-conscious entrepreneurs — raised on the dream that technology can positively impact on all of our lives — will strive to create.
That’s what 19-year-old university student Michael Reeves has done with his … wait a second, he’s done nothing of the kind!
Instead, Reeves has poured his budding tech expertise into building a robot which uses facial recognition to shine a laser into the eye of anyone who dares use it. And, no, just in case you’re wondering, this isn’t some prototypical laser eye surgery technology; we’re talking about a laser pointer designed purely to annoy.
“I combined a multitude of useful technologies into one completely useless invention, as per my goal,” Reeves told Digital Trends. “It detects your face and shoots you in the eyes with a laser. The machine takes in video and sends it to my computer which is running the software I wrote. The software processes it and sends coordinate data to a microcontroller inside of the machine, which in turn sends signals to the servos for pan and tilt respectively.”
Reeves may be a prankster, but one thing he isn’t is selfish. If anyone else wants to join him in building their own “sh*tty robot” laser flasher he’s made the C# source code available to download here. You’ll need a webcam, a pair of servos for panning and tilting, and a laser pointer to pull it off, but Reeves says he plans to show how to do this — and show how the software’s calibration setting work — in a subsequent video.
As for future plans to expand the project? “Aside from minor optimizations that just nag at me, no plans as of now,” he continued. “I don’t have a lot of time to focus on personal projects between work, my company, and school, but the overwhelming support is definitely a motivator for more effort.”
Because more laser-shining robot troublemakers is just what the world needs, right?