Student develops the table tennis table of the future

Student develops the table tennis table of the future

Published on 01.05.2016

Is this the table tennis table of the future?

Is this the table tennis table of the future? A student at the University of Design in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Baden-Württemberg, has built a panel with virtual reality functions. For his bachelor thesis in interaction design, Thomas Mayer has developed a system that records the trajectories of table tennis balls in real time and converts them into visualizations.

At least in theory. This should give coaches and players more knowledge about their game and at the same time offer them opportunities for improvement, it says on its website. At the request of the” Welt”, Mayer explained that he had more than 750 hours needed for the development of the interactive table tennis table. From the initial research to the completion of the work.

It was a great challenge to create a user interface that could a) be projected onto a table tennis table and b) depict all relevant key data of the player profile and his playing style in real time. Layout and the arrangement of the individual buttons proved to be the biggest problems.

Two Playstation cameras and a projector

He then placed a table tennis board in his office and mounted two Playstation CL cameras above it to record the ball’s movements, as well as a Full HD projector to project the converted data onto the board. The program was developed with “vvvv”, a program code that can graphically process video data in real time.

On the dashboard, the player will find an abstract documentation of his history and personal records as well as a calendar to plan training sessions. The data visualizations shown in the video were conceptually elaborated, as Mayer explains further. The collection of data ” would have been simply too much for a bachelor’s thesis.”There is no data basis for the pie charts and tables shown.

However, Mayer continues, this would undoubtedly work. “With the right tracking program, even top and backspin could be detected and improved.”The program would simply have to be taught to measure the speed changes of the balls on impact and to compare their angles of entry and exit.

In March, he presented his “interactive table tennis trainer”, as he calls it himself, at a trade fair at his university. The feedback was great. For hours, visitors would have enjoyed the table and given him feedback for further improvement.

Which exactly these are, the hobby table tennis player is silent about. But what he openly admits: “I have found out that I can completely change the game.”At the moment, all kinds of contacts from all over the world came to him. “I think something will happen soon”.

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