We’ve seen projection mapping applied to pool tables for decorative or instructional purposes. This one’s a sleek version for table tennis. Made by Thomas Mayer for his thesis in Interaction Design, the Table Tennis Trainer will turn you into the Ivan Drago of ping pong.
Thomas used a pair of PlayStation Eye cameras and a projector to track the ball and turn the table into an interactive display. The system’s flashiest feature is that it displays a profile of the player, such as his best score, win-loss record and even relevant attributes. However, it requires an NFC reader on the table and a chip embedded in the player’s paddle to serve as his login credential and perhaps data storage.
My favorite feature is the training mode for lone players. For instance, it can ask you to hit certain spots on the table when serving. Finally, the Table Tennis Trainer has several visual effects that make two player games more fun.
I think it’s worth exploring for the training mini-games alone. It could also introduce fun modes to the game, such as having players score more points if they hit certain spots or they can spell or draw characters on the table. I hope augmented reality takes off so we can have smart interfaces like this everywhere.