External Minecraft Creeper Detector
When you play Minecraft, the last thing you want is for a creeper to sneak up behind you and explode. To prevent this from happening, and to entertain kids at the Children’s Museum of Bozeman, John Allwine decided to make an external creeper detector using a SparkFun RedBoard, along with an eight-LED NeoPixel strip to indicate when one is close.
Allwine’s device uses a Minecraft Forge and a mod called SerialCraft to communicate with the RedBoard via a serial connection. Once creeper distance data info is piped to the board, its program notes the distance and adjusts the lighting accordingly based on the sensitivity setup. The distance at which a creeper will light its fuse can be set, as well as its blast radius, though they are best left alone as they indicate actual game functionality.
The detector itself is laser cut out of wood and acrylic, and a layer of frosted acrylic to diffuse light is tucked beneath a layer of clear acrylic engraved with a creeper. You can see it demonstrated in the video below, as the device’s light increases in intensity as the creeper gets closer. It finally flashes when the player is within the blast radius, though it appears that this warning was too late in this case!