My friend Tod Kurt and I finished building our laser tripwire art heist! (He did all the heavy lifting.) This is for the Machine Project Benefit this Saturday night. Here’s a sneak peek:


We’re using a hazer to make the laser beams visible, which works surprisingly well in this semi-open space. To increase the spectacle we installed a few extra lasers that are not being sensed for tripwires, but just look cool. The heisters won’t know which these are, however, so it adds to the challenge without increasing complexity.

In this side view you can see what happens when you break too many beams: lots of lights come on, including a blinding, red LED array. For this Tod used an Arduino-controlled AC optical relay. I’m hoping Tod will write up the whole project for a MAKE article, because he has all kinds of neat tricks like this throughout.


The event is shaping up to be truly wonderful, and affords the attendee a rare chance to hang out in Mister Jalopy’s secret underground lair. I’m totally shameless, so if you ask I’ll eat some laser for you. There are still a few tickets available, hope to see you there!


Laser tripwires for Machine Project art heist
Machine Project Benefit 2009

John Edgar Park

John Edgar Park

John Edgar Park likes to make things and tell people about it. He works at Disney Research and writes for Make and Boing Boing. He is training for American Ninja Warrior. You can find him at and twitter @johnedgarpark — if you like that sort of thing.

  • Dale Dougherty

    Really cool, John and Tod. Can we get this project to Maker Faire?

    • John Park

      You’re on, Dale!

  • KentKB

    I also vote for a Maker Fair laser tripwire art heist.

    Mmmm, maybe my shiny mylar jump suit will beat it?
    I will find out at Maker Faire Bay Area 2K10.

    Que the Mission Imposable theme Music….