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Microscopic Pac-Man

by Paul Strauss

Earlier this week, I read about a tiny Pac-Man discovered with an electron microscope. But that was just a random scientific anomaly. Turns out there’s a real microscopic Pac-Man out there, and you can actually play it!


Developed by Japanes design professor Kotoro “dotimpact” Tanaka, the microscopic Pac-Man[JP] uses a small video projector, combined with the original Pac-Man arcade hardware to allow play of the game through the optics of a microscope.


The tiny rig reflects its image through a mirror to produce a 1cm square image at a resolution of 1439-ppi (way denser than Apple’s retina display!) Once magnified through the eyepiece of the microscope, it’s just like playing the full-size game. Dotimpact also encourages visitors to try playing with the zoom and focus controls on the microscope for some fun effects.


Blogger Francesco Fondi came across this special version of Pac-Man while he was at the 30th anniversary Pac-Man exhibition[JP] in the Akihabara district of Tokyo, which ends on October 11th. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to figure out a way to photograph what you actually see through the microscope, but if you happen to be in Tokyo, you should go check it out for yourself.

[Thanks for the tip, Francesco!]

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