Ping Pong FM is a fun, musical take on table tennis. Choose a song and keep it playing at the correct tempo by keeping the ball in play. Rally too slowly, or drop the ball, and the music will wind down to a stop.
Ping Pong FM uses a variety of tech to detect when the players hit the ball and adjust the music’s speed based on how well they’re playing.
After considering several approaches, we found that placing contact microphones within each of the paddles was the most effective solution to keep track of the game. These are used to ‘listen’ for the wooden paddles reverberating when the ball hits.
The microphone audio is processed by an Arduino hidden inside a retro radio case that listens for peaks above a threshold. The Arduino then sends a Player ID via a USB connection if a hit is registered.
A computer running the game app, built using openFrameworks, advances based on the Player ID. This app keeps track of the pace of play and adjusts the speed of the song appropriately as well as re-syncing to the beginning of a bar after longer slow-downs.
Ping Pong FM was created by Mark Wheeler, Christopher Arzt, Alaa Mendili, Camille Durand, Kevin Bleich, Demetre Arges, Paul Williamson, Graham Bullis, Catherine Schultz, Brandon Hilliard, Les Hilliard and Tyler Coray. Special thanks to Object.
We’re looking for a partner to help us bring Ping Pong FM to fun events or a more permanent venue. If you’re that person, or you would like to find out more about Ping Pong FM, send us an email and say hello.