Re-Programming a Blinky POV for Flashlight Tag

I am interested in using the light sensor and led layout of the Blinky POV project to make a flashlight (laser) tag device. The unit would start out with a “back and forth” (cylon) led pattern. But when the light sensor gets a direct hit from another player’s flashlight, the lights all light up. (or blink in unison) When the player gets hit he/she has to sit out until the game restarts.

At that point they would just press the button and the cylon pattern starts again.

  1. Is this project possible with the current design?

  2. How would I reprogram the microchip to execute this type of game?

  3. Are there other parts that would be necessary?

I’m new to electronics and programming but I am wanting to learn how to do both and I thought this project would be a good way to get my feet wet.


Here is an example:

Hi Joe,

I think this is possible, and it sounds fun, but I do not think modifying a Blinky POV for flashlight tag is a good beginner’s project.

You would use a PIC programmer like the pickit3 to program the chip on the board. Unfortunately, our main blinky program is not beginner-friendly. We had to write in assembly due to space constraints. The bootloader is written in C, but it doesn’t use a lot of the hardware so it would probably be difficult to use it as an example for everything you’d need.

You may need to change the resistors on the light sensors, or else play in a very dark room, but that is a an easy modification.

My suggestion for this would be to start with an Arduino, some LEDs, and a light sensor. Because that might be expensive for a lot of players, maybe use something like the Adafruit Trinket?

I definitely think our Blinky POV could do this, but I think it might be a discouraging first project. I had never thought of this application of our kit–thanks!

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Wayne, thanks for your response. I wouldn’t be working on this alone. I have some friends who claim to be able to write programs in C. So I would be somewhat of a copilot. If we are able to get some of the code put together, would you be willing to provide some feedback?

We would keep it all open source (of course) and it would be a fun addition to the usefulness of your board. I’m the president of a makerspace and we plan to use your boards to teach kids (and parents) how to solder.


Most definitely! It’s a totally cool idea!

It wouldn’t be impossible or even extremely difficult, but because there isn’t a large codebase you can crib from, it would be more difficult than I could recommend for a beginner by themselves.

Modifications like this are one of the reasons why we choose to give away the sources and spend so much time documenting the internals of our projects.