Hot Embers

I do something call Cowboy mounted shooting (http://www.cmsaevents.com/home/), where you shoot balloons from horseback using a single action Colt 45, which is shooting black-powder blanks. The hot embers from the black powder are what cause the balloon to pop. I would like to build a device that could be used to replace the balloon with some type of sensing device that could turn a specific color if hot embers were detected within a specified proximity of the device. This would eliminate the need to replace each balloon while practicing.

Any thoughts on how this might be accomplished?

Could you not just use something like a piece of paper? It would burn if the embers got close.

Consider wax slugs for practice? Aim small miss small :)

Not sure if there's a sensor out there that can detect the brief black powder, at least economical enough that you'll want to abandon balloons. At the distances you're shooting from, would the embers mark fresh spray paint? Would they singe tissue paper?

How about thermal printing paper like some till's use ?

EDIT If US 'checkout' roll.

Boardburner2: How about thermal printing paper like some till's use ?

EDIT If US 'checkout' roll.

Following that idea, I know fax machines tend to use thermal paper. It's coincidentally just called thermal fax paper. Will be more economical than dinky register rolls. Worth a shot to see if it'll mark.

If it does mark noticeably, THEN the doors open up for sensors that can detect change as an image. Like 'snap' a pic, if new input is different enough from old, trigger something like a light to count as a hit. Idk, maybe a simple PIR sensor would be enough.

maybe tracing paper. you will see holes from any flying debris, not just burning.