Enough gimmick. Let’s get down to serious business, the stuff that illuminates our life and gives us a deeper sense of humanity. Yes, I mean air hockey. Yes, I’m dead serious. (Hey, I’m a fan.)

In a brilliant – and brilliantly-colored – new project, the power of computer vision reinvents a familiar tabletop game. Live-animated elements and gameplay that connects with just about everybody are a recipe for something really successful.

French co-creator Jonathan Da Costa explains:

We are an independant design collective and introducing our latest project, a new experimental gaming installation – called PONK – which combines touchless and tangible gameplay.

Powered by Kinect ([aimed] from above) and Adobe Flash, PONK creates a new digital experience by providing an interactive platform combining a 2D playground and 3D real, reactive elements. This tennis game enables players to use the movements of their hands over the screen to control the ball and use reactive tangible objects to interact with the
device, creating a highly responsive game.

PONK is an experimental project stated in 2011 by Jonathan Da Costa and Florence Rampin, both Paris-based interactive designers. This initiative represents a self-oriented work to explore new ways of interaction through innovation.

The setup isn’t limited to the particular game here, PONK, and Jonathan hastens to add that the team is looking for new collaborations and venues. That could include new gameplay forms. To me, there is something special about the table itself, about the way it scales to human size and the way us humans play around it; it certainly takes me back to some fond memories of playing tabletop games.

Of course, you may also be interested to know just what’s powering the vision tech here. Jonathan shares a few tech specs with CDM:

Flash Player 11
Box2D for physics engine http://box2dflash.sourceforge.net/
Custom implementation of TuioKinect lib for motion detection http://code.google.com/p/tuiokinect/

That TuioKinect library could also work with other environments, too, if you prefer to use something other than Flash.

http://www.playponk.fr
Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/86698631@N00/sets/72157627718775374/

Watch it in action at a recent installation:

  • peenermAn87

    Oh, so it’s OK to use Flash now? Cool.

  • Guest

    Last time I played air hockey, a puck smashed my finger, and broke a blood vessel.  This would fix that problem! :D

  • gavspav

    Project looks ‘cool’ but I’d say having it touch-less detracts from the air hockey experience. Always important to ask why one is using a certain technology I think. However its always hard to gauge the experience without trying it (and even then everything is subjective) so if it is satisfying and fun then Yeah Wicked!