Funded! This project was successfully funded on May 4, 2013.

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No blasters. No body armor. The targets work beneath everyday clothing. The "guns" fit into everyday objects.

The Dream

Traditionally, laser tag has been a game of blasters and body armor. We decided to produce a line of subtler products.  This is laser tag for James Bond, not RoboCop.

By reenvisioning the equipment's classic form-factor, we've unlocked a range of new laser tag games and experiences.  Here are just a few games we like to play (consider our "Supreme Tactical Party Leader" reward for more ideas):

Assassins

Give a high tech upgrade to your campus's annual game of Assassins. Our minimalist guns can be hidden in the palm of your hand or in everyday objects.  Lay traps.  Hire a hitman.  Or make the kill yourself.  Your target won't see it coming until it's too late.

Mafia (Werewolf)

In the classic Mafia party game, you can eliminate your targets silently, in the night, with undetectable infrared light.  The townspeople won't know what hit them.

Indoor tag

Tag isn't just for recess anymore.  Play it indoors, at school, at coffee shops, or at the mall.  The "guns" don't look like guns, so you won't freak out your principal, the police, or innocent bystanders.

The Gadgets


The targets are small enough to fit into a shirt pocket.  The "guns" can be hidden in a boot or up a sleeve.  Or they can be deployed as a trap.
The targets are small enough to fit into a shirt pocket. The "guns" can be hidden in a boot or up a sleeve. Or they can be deployed as a trap.

The targets

We designed these targets to be fully functional even underneath ordinary clothes.  They're guaranteed to make even a plain white t-shirt into an eye-catching fashion statement.  The six LEDs represent your hit-points and change from green to red each time you get tagged.

Whether you're playing laser tag or not, we guarantee that you could wear this into a bar and walk out with a date in less than 3 minutes. It's a great conversation starter.
Whether you're playing laser tag or not, we guarantee that you could wear this into a bar and walk out with a date in less than 3 minutes. It's a great conversation starter.
Our first hardware prototype.  Although it's usually concealed beneath clothing, we still need your help to make it look cooler!
Our first hardware prototype. Although it's usually concealed beneath clothing, we still need your help to make it look cooler!

The above prototype is similar to what our Elite Operatives ("MacGyver"-Level and above) will build. If you think it looks dumb, don't worry. Our first professional PCBs will be arriving in a few days.  And making the hardware look cooler is exactly what this Kickstarter project is all about.

The "guns"

The guns are inconspicuous, enabling you to discover an endless variety of creative places to conceal them.  They also have a powerful range.  We've tested them from 1 to 20 feet.

Not only that, but you don't even have to use our guns if you don't want to.  Just grab your nearest TV remote or one of these keychains.  Any infrared light that oscillates at 38 kHz will work.

A perfectly viable laser "gun".
A perfectly viable laser "gun".

The Plan

We'll be using Kickstarter funding for two things:

Better looking hardware

The microcontroller's software is complete.  We've playtested our early prototypes extensively.  But as you might have noticed, our DIY prototypes aren't easy on the eye. So your contributions will help us bring home the first production round of sleek, stylish, beautiful PCBs.  Time permitting, we'll also add features such as sound and vibration to the design.  

The website

What you see on this page and in our video is just the beginning of an entire line of laser tag innovations that have been designed by the participants in ThoughtSTEM's Young Tech Entrepreneur's program.  These innovations need a home in cyberspace -- a place where people can order them, thereby supporting our innovative approach to science and engineering education.  Proceeds from online sales will ensure that the Young Tech Entrepreneur's program will continue to thrive, providing critical training for the next generation of dreamers, makers, and doers.  

The Team

Stephen Foster.  Project Manager.  Ph.D. student.  CEO of ThoughtSTEM.  Laser tag enthusiast.
Stephen Foster. Project Manager. Ph.D. student. CEO of ThoughtSTEM. Laser tag enthusiast.

The team developing software.  Stephen -- ThoughtSTEM Co-Founder -- helps them make good design decisions.
The team developing software. Stephen -- ThoughtSTEM Co-Founder -- helps them make good design decisions.
The team soldering their hardware.  Sarah -- ThoughtSTEM Co-Founder -- explains how it's done.
The team soldering their hardware. Sarah -- ThoughtSTEM Co-Founder -- explains how it's done.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

It's possible that our industry partners will experience delays in PCB production. We are working with a local fabrication company, however, which will streamline future collaboration and will eliminate potential shipping hazards or delays on their end. (We can literally drive down the highway and pick up the PCBs if we have to.)

Also, we've wholeheartedly adopted the sage advice "Under-promise and over-deliver". By setting our reward delivery date late this year, we've given ourselves a large time buffer to handle the unexpected and to even to add new features to our current design if time permits.

FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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    47 backers

    Cadet: We'll email you an eloquently crafted "thank you" message replete with various literary devices.

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    29 backers

    Infiltrator: In addition to the above, we'll email you a professional photo of the design team, autographed by all of us, expressing our sincere gratitude.

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    12 backers

    Operative: In addition to the above, we'll list your name (or your company's name) at the end of a short YouTube documentary video that we'll make to say "thank you" to all of our backers.

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    23 backers

    International Elite Operative ("MacGyver"-Level): In addition to the above, we'll send you the top-secret schematics for our current laser tag target prototype, along with classified instructions about how to build it yourself, using "everyday" materials you can find at RadioShack. We'll also send you an Atmega328 chip that's pre-programmed so that your device can be tagged by any 38Khz infrared transmitter -- such as ordinary TV remotes. It's everything you need in order to launch a fun (educational) weekend project, followed by a game of laser tag.

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    41 backers

    Elite Operative ("MacGyver"-Level): In addition to the above, we'll send you the top-secret schematics for our current laser tag target prototype, along with classified instructions about how to build it yourself, using "everyday" materials you can find at RadioShack. We'll also send you an Atmega328 chip that's pre-programmed so that your device can be tagged by any 38Khz infrared transmitter -- such as ordinary TV remotes. It's everything you need in order to launch a fun (educational) weekend project, followed by a game of laser tag.

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    22 backers

    Elite Operative ("Q"-Level): In addition to the above, we'll send you all the electronic components necessary to assemble our top-secret 6-LED laser tag target prototype on an ordinary perfboard. You'll get the top-secret schematics, the classified "how to" instructions, 6 state-of-the-art multi-colored LEDs, several high-performance capacitors, a sleek 7805, a precision clock crystal, an urban-chiq brown perfboard, a pre-programmed Atmega328, and more! With this kit, your at-home R&D department will have everything it needs in order to manufacture a laser tag target for any secret agent with 6 hit points.

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    International Elite Operative ("007"-Level): In addition to the above, we'll also send you the fully assembled laser tag target -- and not just soldered into an ordinary perfboard. This will be the sleek, stylish PCB that this KickStarter project is all about. James Bond would be able to proudly place this shining pinnacle of laser tag hardware design into the pocket of a tasteful white dress shirt, thereby dazzling the pretty waitress as he orders his classic martini, which will glow green from the light of the 6 high-output LEDs as he carefully sips his beverage. You will have similar experiences.

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    5 backers

    Elite Operative ("007"-Level): In addition to the above, we'll also send you the fully assembled laser tag target -- and not just soldered into an ordinary perfboard. This will be the sleek, stylish PCB that this KickStarter project is all about. James Bond would be able to proudly place this shining pinnacle of laser tag hardware design into the pocket of a tasteful white dress shirt, thereby dazzling the pretty waitress as he orders his classic martini, which will glow green from the light of the 6 high-output LEDs as he carefully sips his beverage. You will have similar experiences.

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    21 backers

    Tactical Party Leader: In addition to the above, if you email us a photo of yourself wearing your Elite Operative ("007"-Level) hardware inside the pocket of a white dress shirt, while holding a martini glass, we'll do the following: 1) Put the above photo and your name on a "thank you" page on our website (thoughtstem.com); 2) Ship you a Party Kit, which includes three "guns" that you can embed into various everyday objects. To help spark your creativity, we'll also include a pamphlet that describes how we like retrofit things like dry erase markers, books, and potted plants to make cool traps. No need to use a TV remote for a gun anymore. And now you can host your own laser tag party!

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    5 backers

    Supreme Tactical Party Leader: In addition to the above, we'll email you an e-book that includes detailed rules for 5 different party games that we've played with our equipment (everything from variations on the classic "Assassins" and "Mafia" games to an awesome nighttime "Zombie Apocalypse" game). We'll also email you with updated versions of this e-book whenever we invent new games.

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    MI6 Sponsor: In addition to the above, we'll prominently feature your name or your company's name on the home page of our website (thoughtstem.com) as well as on any of our banners or major promotional materials for 1 year, beginning this May. This is a fantastic opportunity for you or your company to publicly fund innovations in America's K-12 S.T.E.M. education. We all know that American S.T.E.M. education is beginning to lag behind that of other countries. Together, we can help incubate tomorrow's technological leaders. Today, these kids are in ThoughtSTEM's Young Tech Entrepreneur's program. Tomorrow, they'll be founding real startups. You can help make this happen!

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Funding period

- (30 days)