In this project I worked together with two of my fellow students Jonas Maanson and Anders Hoejmose, and our teacher Henrik Oevad who was teaching us Max/msp during the whole project. We really wanted to work with physical input and somehow try to make the border between physical and digital world invisible.
During our course in max/msp we were introduced to different technologies. One of them was the use of piezo pickups combined with the max/msp library ~bonk. Piezo pickups are small, flat microphones that pick up sound through material, rather that the air. By attaching the piezo to a table we could clearly hear all sound going 'through' the table. By using the ~bonk library for max/msp we could distinguish between different sounds such as tapping the table with a fingernail or knocking on the table. Thereby we could make it react only to the sound of a ping-pong ball. The other technology we used was a colour-tracking program made with processing. The program would loop through every pixel in every frame looking for the specific orange colour of the ball.
If any real-world physical sport could be categorized as a videogame, it would be ping-pong. This is of course also due to the legendary Pong video game from 1979, but still the whole visual culture defining ping-pong, the simple colours of the table and the bats, and the staccato sounds of the ball, resembles early video games. They connote the same feeling of fun and games. Old school fun as it used to be, not all these complex videogames kids play today.