Arduino IR "Laser Tag" help?

Hello everyone,

I am thinking of using two Arduinos, both with IR receivers and transmitters to make my own Laser Tag-like game. Actually, I’d like it to work more like Pong on steriods!

Basically, I need to be able to shoot an IR beam from one Arduino, where the other Arduino would respond that it has received “the ball” (sound and lights would indicate this, but for now, I’m more concerned about the IR). Then, I can shoot the “ball” back to the first, and so on and so forth.

I have found some info on using universal TV remotes, but in my case, I’d like to send and respond to IR codes between two Arduinos.

Can anyone offer advice or point me in the right direction?

Remote control receivers require a modulated IR signal. The frequency of the modulation must match at both ends. You need a module like the TSOP2130 from Vishay (available at most component suppliers). They do a number of these with a variation in the last two digits indicting the modulation frequency, For example that on expects 30KHz modulation where as TSOP2138 requires 38KHz modulation. It does not matter what rate you chose on a single system but it might be helpful to stop interference from other devices. The other thing to note is the wavelength of the IR. The devices mentioned above have their greatest response at a wavelength of 950nm so make sure your emitting IR diode matches that.

The code that we provide for our Gadget Shield will let you do this. First you teach it what one or more buttons on a standard TV remote control do (point the remote, press a button, the software learns the pattern), then it can recreate the signal using an integrated IR transmitter.

OK, so if you now do this for 2 Arduinos with Gadget Shields (or similar IR receiver/transmitter hardware) you can point them at each other and on command tell them to transmit one of their stored "buttons". The other one will detect and decode the transmission.

Here's a link to the code.

-- The Gadget Shield: accelerometer, RGB LED, IR transmit/receive, light sensor, potentiometers, pushbuttons

I’ve been toying (pun intended) with the idea of using Arduinos for laser tag for quite some time. Good news: it’s totally doable. Bad news: I see some mechanical difficulties with your design.

There is loads of information about focusing infrared LEDs with cheap lenses, or you can just leave them bare and have a short range battle with “guns” which have a wide cone. Receiving is simple with the help of Ken Shirriff’s free library. If you google “Ken Shirriff Remote” you’ll find all you need.
There’s a link on his page which has a few samples of code for getting you used to his library. It’s straight forward and easy to use. If you want to make replica guns and integrate laser tag components there are groups for that or you can go the route I did and just slap it all together with plubming PVC. That stuff is durable and cheap.

I hope that’s encouraging.
The bad news is that the infrared gear is one-way communication. Unless you also have radio receivers and transmitters there’s no way to tell the shooter they’ve made a “hit.”

In other words if PlayerA has the “ball” and sucessfully shoots PlayerB PlayerA won’t know the ball has been successfully “passed.” I hope that makes sense. Of course if each player has a radio receiver and transmitter that information could be passed simply.

These aren’t impossible hurdles and maybe you can think of a way to do it without expensive radio receivers, which may have less range than your infrared shooters.

If you want to talk to some hard-core people check out
I’ve been on this site for awhile and these people know their stuff and they’ll be happy to help you. Some of them are even professionals who build laser tag systems.

On the other hand you can build this from the ground up. Either way you’ll learn a lot and that’s the important thing. Good luck.