By analyzing the audio gathered by its microphones, AVO is able to track the score and the exact position that the ball hits the table, and that data is provided to the players in an intuitive and fun way through sound and visual feedback.
1. Sound radar
Microphones and accelerometer in console and paddles can capture the data related to position, speed and spin. These data can be simply used for score counting and performance analyzing, for example. It's also the basic data for further developing of new game modes.
2. New game modes
More than the usual competition against players, AVO offers them the possibility of collaborating with each other to reach common goals or embody characters, transforming the paddles in fictitious weapons through the use of sound.
3. Audio interface
AVO also distinguishes between the sound spectrum of the paddle hitting the table with the rubber and the edge, using them as different input information, thus creating an audio user interface that is intuitive to the players.
HOW IT WORKS
Components of the console
As the brain of AVO, console do all the computing works. It uses microphones and vibration sensors to collect data from ball and net, and the speaker and projector to provide audio and visual feedback.
Components of paddles
Paddles use microphone and accelerometer to track speed, angle and the time of strokes. The speaker in the paddle can give players more realistic feeling, just like the paddle really become a fictitious weapon.
When 3 microphones detect the same frequency spectrum of sound simultaneously, the position of bouncing point can be deduced by comparing the volume.
Distinguishing between the sounds of the ball hitting and bouncing by their audio spectrums.
It was an intensive project. The main challenge for me was to organize the schedule and arrange tasks, making sure we can present results on time and also keeping it high quality at the same time.
My roles: Team lead, Interaction designer, Industrial designer, Animator
After deciding the concept of ping-pong, we tried to sketch it out on the ping-pong table, and then projecting the image on the table for adjusting the color and size of graphics.
PROOF OF CONCEPT
We recorded the sound of bouncing and hitting the ball. The audio spectrum presents clearly difference between their shape, thus proving that the idea is feasible.
PROTOTYPE OF THE PADDLE
The prototype of paddles was made of a Wii controller as it has gyro and accelerometers. Different sounds were generated by processing, according to speed of strokes.
Watch the video. It shows how the paddle works as a laser gun!~
PROTOTYPE OF THE "SOUND RADAR"
We thought, through adjusting the algorithm and parameters of volume-distance transition, It's feasible to measure the position of the bouncing point, and to test it we built this prototype of sound radar, which includes 3 microphones at the corners of the table, measuring sound levels, and using processing to translate data into graphics.
We set up the prototype for observing how users react to the image on the table and sounds generated by their strokes. We were surprised to see that they showed high tolerance to the delay of sound effects and animation, and that they enjoied to explore how different sounds react to their stroke. Another valuable point is that we found some users tried to control the interface by paddle. Based on it, we developed the audio input interface.
We use this monocolor and bold line stroking style based on limitations of the ping-pong table and projector.
We chose the orange triangle with rounded corners as the main element to present the concept of making ping-pong more fun and easy. Through implementing it in brand, product and animation, we created a clear and unified image of AVO.