Games

Massive game of Pong uses LiDAR to turn human players into paddles

Massive game of Pong uses LiDA...
GRiD is a modern twist on Pong using pairs of motion-tracked humans to control the paddles
GRiD is a modern twist on Pong using pairs of motion-tracked humans to control the paddles
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A modern riff on the classic game of Pong
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A modern riff on the classic game of Pong
The system uses just one LIDAR sensor that is able to track up to 12 different people
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The system uses just one LIDAR sensor that is able to track up to 12 different people
Two players control a single paddle
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Two players control a single paddle
GRiD is a modern twist on Pong using pairs of motion-tracked humans to control the paddles
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GRiD is a modern twist on Pong using pairs of motion-tracked humans to control the paddles
The design firm created custom software to use the LIDAR and track human players 
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The design firm created custom software to use the LIDAR and track human players 
The design firm created custom software to use the LIDAR and track human players 
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The design firm created custom software to use the LIDAR and track human players 
This is the first in a series of projects designed to update classic arcade games with modern interactive technology
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This is the first in a series of projects designed to update classic arcade games with modern interactive technology

After a year of development, design firm Moment Factory has successfully realized GRiD, a large-scale, real-life version of Pong. The game uses LiDAR to track player movements, letting teams of two act as paddles on a giant projected game board.

The Moment Factory team, inspired by the LiDAR technology used to track objects around self-driving cars, spent a year experimenting with the sensor, and wrote custom software to allow it to accurately track moving people.

"With one LiDAR in the corner of the room, we could reliably track the position of a dozen or so people," writes Moment Factory on its website. "So we set about turning our 40 x 60 ft (12 x 18 m) black box into a giant game interface using Unity as a visual and gameplay frontend."

The system uses just one LIDAR sensor that is able to track up to 12 different people
The system uses just one LIDAR sensor that is able to track up to 12 different people

LiDAR sensors, which can track objects in a space by measuring the time it takes for laser beams to bounce off their surface and return, have accelerated development of autonomous vehicles in recent years. But the technology has also been used in other interesting ways, including aiding a recent scan of Guatemalan jungle and potentially revealing a gigantic, undiscovered Mayan city.

The design firm created custom software to use the LIDAR and track human players 
The design firm created custom software to use the LIDAR and track human players 

The most impressive aspect of GRiD's use of LiDAR is that just one sensor can accurately track an entire space and up to 12 different people simultaneously. The gameplay looks impressively dynamic with very little latency between a person's movements and the corresponding paddle. All this results in a classic video game becoming a very physical experience. A long game of Pong here could most definitely classify as a decent exercise workout.

Moment Factory suggests that while the technology to create this kind of game experience is still a little expensive, it is planning on building an entire series of arcade-themed prototypes following on from this. Such an approach has the potential to turn usually sedentary videogames into heart-rate-raising workouts.

Take a look at GRiD in action in the video below.

Source: Moment Factory

GRiD : Transforming public spaces with collaborative play

1 comment
Bruce H. Anderson
Being one of those people who actually played Pong in my youth, I appreciate this more interactive version. Time and medical interventions have taken their toll, so I probably wouldn't be able to participate if this ever hits the market. My favorite pong was the one with a joystick instead of a knob, which allowed you to charge the net and drop back. This could be interesting, like a combination of soccer(football) and tennis.