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Asia Ward, Body Pong

Main Street

Body Pong

Throw your body into this game of Pong! Using your silhouette instead of paddles in this interactive projection, you will experience the game like never before.

The research and development of Body Pong was supported by the Learning Technologies Center (LTC), a department within the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM). The project came out of LTC’s work with computer games and game programming, especially related to its strong interest in software that makes programming and sensors more accessible to the public. Aaron Heidgerken, an exhibit programmer at SMM, and Asia Ward, an education program specialist for LTC, developed Body Pong with a hacked Kinect sensor and creative open-source software. Aaron was the key programmer, and Asia modified the game to enhance visitor interaction; she also exhibits and represents the game during events.

Body Pong was developed with the Xbox Kinect sensor, libfreenect, as the open-source driver, Openframeworks and Xcode as the application and programming languages, and OpenKinect as the community support and example library. All these tools make it possible for participants to have touchscreen functionality from 10 to 15 feet away and to interact with the Body Pong ball simply by moving their body. Players can pick up the ball or bump it away. It’s easy to play the game: walk within ten feet of the screen and suddenly you are in it, represented on the screen by your own silhouetted image.

Asia demonstrates Body Pong during Northern Spark to encourage participants, artists, and game designers to learn more about interactive game development and projection programming. Body Pong is an easy, fun, and entertaining way to engage in new creative game technology and programming.