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Students make giant robotic Pac-Man

By David, 15 May 2015

Image: The giant LED Pac-Man under construction. Credit: CREATE

Image: The giant LED Pac-Man under construction.
Credit: CREATE

A three metre wide Pac-Man maze with glowing LED ghosts and a robotic Pac-Man will entertain festival goers at Sydney’s Vivid Light festival.

An avid student maker group from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), called CREATE, is working hard to make the game in only five weeks.

CREATE president Nathan Adler says it’s been a really big challenge. “There are about 10-15 of us in the team, we have assessments as well – whenever we have free time we work on it.”

“We wanted an arcade game,” he says. “It can play itself but we are going to try and implement remote control so someone can play as Pac-Man or even as a ghost.

“We are simulating the dots in the Pac-Man game, so the LED strip lights turn off as Pac-Man eats them.”

The team used Makerspace to construct the giant game, an incubator for collaborative construction.

The Makerspace is at the UNSW art and design campus and contains space and equipment for students to use on projects they are developing, including a 3D printer, soldering equipment, computers and software for 3D modelling and Arduino programming.

Nathan says that every Friday afternoon the CREATE group helps people with any projects that they are working on. Previous projects have included quadcopters, robotic arms and model vehicles.

As well as building a maze, the team also must build and program robots for Pac-Man and each of the ghosts. They also need each robot to communicate – the ghosts need to know where Pac-Man is, and the lights in the maze need to know when they have been eaten.

The Pac-Man game design uses laser-cut and 3D printed materials, programmable LED strip lighting, on-board microprocessors, a wireless communication network and image recognition.

The project came into being when Intel asked CREATE to make an installation for their space called Transcendence that will be in Martin Place during the festival. The game will be on display from 22-24 May and from 29-31 May.

More information

Makerspace at UNSW

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