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pingpongplus Interactive ping pong table / virtual aquarium

Ah, the gay (19)90s: before Y2K, 9/11, Gitmo, CDOs, and all kinds of other depressing modern acronyms. Venture capital fell from the sky like manna, and everyone was getting rich on the Internet, even though nobody knew exactly how. Enter, into that milieu, the following brilliant idea, courtesy of the wunderkinder at MIT’s then-ascendant Media Lab: Ping-pong tables ought to contain schools of virtual fish that react to the impact of the ball. The rave toy to end all rave toys!

Pre-coffee sarcasm aside, this really is pretty cool. PingPongPlus is the work of Craig Wisneski, Julian Orbanes, Ben Chun and Professor Hiroshi Ishii. The “fish” mode is only one of several possible interactions, and they all include sound effects. Check out the vid:

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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