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?