The LightRanger prototype, new miniatures game accessory -- see the video
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Thread: The LightRanger prototype, new miniatures game accessory -- see the video

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    Default The LightRanger prototype, new miniatures game accessory -- see the video

    Hello CMON forums,

    I've completed the initial prototype of my new miniatures game accessory, the LightRanger (patent pending). Aimed at miniatures gamers playing just about any game, the LightRanger uses lasers to measure distances for movement, firing, etc. No more knocking over precious models and scraping up detailed paint jobs! The device also allows very easy measurement from or to center of model, which is challenging with a traditional tape measure.

    At this time, I'm introducing the idea and trying to gather feedback. I am considering attending Fall In 2013 in November (http://www.fall-in.org/) to demonstrate the prototype.

    Any input positive or negative is much appreciated. Reply here and feel free to email lightrangerinfo@gmail.com.

    Video:

    The LightRanger

    http://youtu.be/KDNicAFdRmU

    Thanks,
    -Brad

  2. #2
    Newbie, please be gentle Kharnedge's Avatar
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    Very cool concept my only input would be to the fact that the unit looks to be very bulky. Prototype will be I understand but the idea of snapping the tape back and breaking would worry me. Finding a way to tough up the system for longevity as well making it more self contained would add to the intrigue to use this in gaming for me.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kharnedge View Post
    Very cool concept my only input would be to the fact that the unit looks to be very bulky. Prototype will be I understand but the idea of snapping the tape back and breaking would worry me. Finding a way to tough up the system for longevity as well making it more self contained would add to the intrigue to use this in gaming for me.
    Hey Kharnedge, thanks a lot for the feedback. I am designing and building my next prototype now, and this one will be tighter, more highly integrated, and smaller than the one before. The initial prototype was a raw proof of concept to get a feel for the usefulness of the idea.

    -Shatpanski

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    Coffin Dodger / Keymaster airhead's Avatar
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    usefulness = very.

    Working and lasting in the real world are the issues I see. Think along the lines of lasers for pistols or combat rifles. Small and rugged to withstand abuse and shocks. We're talking gamers here. It needs to be able to withstand retraction without breaking and a few bumps and bruises as well.

    What about a reflector (prism) under the tape end (zero end) with both lasers under the tape? Even better would be a splitter under the box so only one laser would be used. Either way would eliminate the need for a battery and laser out at the end of the tape.
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  5. #5

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    Airhead,
    I appreciate it! My next design will utilize smaller packages of parts for increased ruggedization. I agree that a final product would need to be pretty robust. This should be quite achievable with industrial and/or military grade switches and other parts. Providing a rugged laser for a competitive cost might be the more challenging aspect.

    About the reflector idea, that is a good one. I actually attempted this with one of my earlier designs, and while it may be possible with a more rigid measuring-stick like device, there's most likely too much flex between the end of the tape to the body to make the laser line up properly. You can introduce significant measurement error if it's not tightly aligned.

    To address the battery at the end of the tape, there is some possibility I could place a tiny rechargeable cell at the end that charges automatically off the main batteries in the housing when it's retracted.

    Thanks,
    -Brad

  6. #6

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    This looks very kewl and useful. I realize the design will be streamlined and such, but what I'm worried about is battery changes for the lights. Maybe you could run tiny wires one either end of the measuring tape? It occured to me you could just run it through the metal of the tape.. then I thought that through. I'm just thinking it'd be more economical for some AAA's rather than the usual watch batteries the lasers run on.

  7. #7

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    Thanks Chrispy! You are correct. The plan is to hide 1 or 2 AAAs in the body. It may be possible to run very thin insulated conductors inside the tape itself, which is something I will look into, but the more custom parts, the more expensive and prone to failure unfortunately.

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