Last year I built a scoreboard for the Fantastic Feud trivia game held during the Fantastic Fest film festival (see article). This year, I built "buzz-in" buttons and lights into a podium. Previously, the "buzz-in" was verbal and the host had won (buzzed in first). The Feud has a real party atmosphere and can get pretty raucus. The lack of a definitive winner caused more than a few arguments.
Maxim Pozderac, the Fantastic Feud show runner, scavanged a beautiful old wooden podium and hauled it into my garage.
We then proceeded to cut holes in it. I mounted two giant lighted dome pushbuttons from Sparkfun on the top for the contestants to buzz in. We quickly realized that the lights in the buttons were too dim. So I added a box on top with bright LEDs on it that faces the audience. Maxim painted the podium in contrasting colors that would show up well on stage.
There is a box underneath the podium that houses the buzz in circuitry. It consists of a microcontroller that polls the buttons. When one of them is pressed, the corresponding LED on top is turned on as well as an LED on the box underneath that the host can see. The box also has a reset button that turns off the LEDs in preparation for the next question.