Interview: Creators of 103" plasma air hockey table

In an exclusive Neowin interview with Kalem Fletcher, one of the creators behind a 103" multi-person, multi-touch plasma air hockey showcase piece, we had the chance to ask a couple of questions about the very impressive piece of technology.

The 8 man team was able to complete this showcase piece using a 103" plasma TV from Panasonic, U-Touch (the technology behind the touch interface) and a standard computer with a hefty graphics card to handle the display. The game was created for the ISE 2009 trade show in Amsterdam where crowds formed around the game to get a firsthand look at the impressive UI. The team was only given four days to complete all the work, which they were able to compile and run the last test 2 minutes before the deadline.

The team said air hockey was a natural and obvious choice for this type of application. The game works just like a regular air hockey game would, but without using paddles and only using the touch of your finger to control the game. Kalem mentioned that he would like to see some sophisticated games in the future including Dungeons and Dragons and some Real Time Strategy games.

Sadly, this game will likely never see the light of retail, being mostly a show case piece to demonstrate the power of U-Touch technology and Panasonics 103" plasma TV. The current cost would be too expensive, in the tens of thousands, maybe if hardware costs came down we could see this type of application in the future.

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But isn't there something great about a (retro now?) airhockey table? The only reason I could see these implemented is for price and running cost reductions over an air table - which I think it will take a while for that to happen. I can't wait for the day when you have to tell kids about how these sort of things used to work.

I thought it was a real air hockey table. I got disappointed when I finished reading the article and realised it was just pong.

I agree with you. I wonder how many real air hockey tables they could have bought (or even made) for the cost of a 103" plasma TV.

later this week u-touch will be shut down because of Apple patents, so don't get to excited about this yet *lol* just joking...

Apple doesn't have the patent on multi-touch ANYTHING. It was developed by researchers...the same researchers Apple and MS licensed multi-touch from in the first place.

Yeah, would be great to see them optimize the games fully around touching and movements.

Hell, even being able to slide your paddles when your hand lets go while in motion would be pretty damn slick, hah.

lol good I am not the only one who saw that first the respond time looks bad ... it's nice concept but need improvement.

SLeeM@N said,
lol good I am not the only one who saw that first the respond time looks bad ... it's nice concept but need improvement.
My thoughts too. And I hope they never make these things mainstream and get rid of conventional ones... what a waste of electricity.