“Table Tennis Trainer” might sound like the most ridiculous “perk” your gym has ever tried to push on you (“No, really, you’d be amazed at the core workout you’ll get with Reginald and a few hours of high intensity ping pong, plus he’s only an extra 300 bucks a month”), but we promise you the one we’re talking about is way cooler–and more futuristic–than that.
This is interactive, projection-mapped table tennis training program was the bachelor’s thesis of 28-year-old Thomas Mayer of Germany, and you can see it in action in this video below. (It looks like how they’d play ping pong in Minority Report.)
Mayer says he originally set out to simply “track the ping pong ball in real time to create data visualizations for trainers and players,” but that after working on it for a few weeks he “started developing a projected mapped interface for the ping pong table to show the collected data.”
The system uses two Playstation CL-eye cameras along with a full HD projector to both track the ball and record the information. Besides high scores (a must for bragging rights), the program tracks “facts to review the performance and the development of the player,” making this a real training program that can allow a player to identify and in turn focus on their strengths and weaknesses.
While all of the live data is impressive on its own (and might I add really cool looking, this is a beautifully designed program), the simple tracking of the ball is a great way to really see what it is you are doing (or not doing) right when you play. It would be incredible to watch a very talented player against someone far less skilled, just to see the natural movement of the ball when each hits it.
We can’t be that far away before tennis players are using a similar system to improve their game on the court.
What activity or sport would you love to have a program similar to this one to improve your performance? Map out your thoughts and project them in our comments below.
Images: Thomas Mayer