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Robotic tanks with lasers and damage adjustment

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Hello folks,

I'm needing to get some input on a recent idea of mine, more of a little project to facilitate a game. I'm wanting to put together some RC tanks that are capable of the following:

1) Moving in a realistic fashion
2) Activating (turning on and off) a small pen laser
3) turret control
4) When hit with said laser the tank will exhibit damage (parts associated with location of hit will not function or respond to commands)

Yes I played to much Tank! on Atari as a kid. Still i think this is a pretty neat project and figure I can get all my EE friends to actually do something with their knowledge as opposed to crunching some numbers.

My ideas thus far are as follows
1) Driving the tanks off of small chains (similar to bike chain) fastened together with metal plate. Running each side with an independant motor.

2) A cheapo pen laser with a receiver should be easy enough to wire up.

3) 2 servos driving (x,y) axis should also be relatively easy

4) HERE'S the hard part. First off I need to figure out what I should use to determine when a hit takes place. Ideally I have some 1cmx2cm solar cells that i could place in locations relative to what would be taking the damage (turret, left motor, right motor, cannon itself). When the laser hits the cell it should receive a higher than normal voltage, (Not sure if this would be high enough) that voltage could be fed into a comparator and then the resulting signal could turn on/off a transistor that would act as a switch for each of the parts on the tank.

So that's my idea, I was wondering if any of you had any input on how you would setup this. I've thought about using photodiodes, photoresistors and the such but haven't come up with anything hard and finite.

So in the end I would appreciate any and all feedback.

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