If, like me, you've always found ping pong a little lacking in flashing lights, Pingtime, an augmented reality project created for the 2013 Rokolectiv Festival in Bucharest, may just take your fancy. Conceived by Sergiu Doroftei, the arts project augments an ordinary table tennis table with projections and sounds by equipping the paddles with sensors and using an infrared camera to track the ball.
Of course hardware alone does not a box of AR tricks make. The team behind the project had to implement some software wizardry too, using the vvvv programming environment for graphics and sound, and the OpenCV computer vision library to help keep an eye on the ball.
The overall effect is striking, with the surface of the table effectively becoming a giant display: a canvas on which to paint lights and colors coordinated with the ensuing ping-pongery. Judging by the video, the whole effect does seem to make the game much harder to play (perhaps as a result of the relative darkness required for the light show as much as anything), but perhaps this is the point.
"Pingtime takes a look into how realtime generated computer responses are affecting reaction time in fast gameplay situations," the video's description goes.
You can see the mesmerizing Pingtime in action below.