If that ho-hum, boring old ping-pong table you installed in the basement didn’t get the kids as fired up as you had hoped, this high-tech musical makeover may change their tune.
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Ping Pong FM is an interactive game of table tennis-meets-karaoke where players try to volley the ball at a speed/pace that keeps the song playing at the correct tempo. Hit too slowly, and the song drags; play too quickly and you’re listening to the Chimpmunks on fast forward. You can make the game more or less challenging by the song you select and play ends when somebody misses or the rally stops. So, yea, unless you’re on an Olympic table tennis team, odds are good that things get very frustrating, very quickly.
Still, how does Ping Pong FM work? Not to get too Bill Nye on you but there are “contact microphones” built-into the paddles that register when the ball is hit. Each paddle is wired (seriously, no wireless?) and transmits the audio to a microcontroller hidden in a retro radio, which then kicks it to a computer running the game app. It’s the Ping Pong FM app that “keeps track of the pace of play and adjusts the speed of the song appropriately,” as well as provides players with the song menu and delightful visuals on the accompanying screen.
As not everybody wants to play table tennis to Vivaldi, the first (and probably most important) question should have been what tunes are included? From the looks of it, you can count on a lot of pop/rap classics in Ping Pong FM: everything from Salt-N-Pepa’s Push It, to the Beastie Boys’ Intergalactic, to Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball — also what you’ve dubbed your game-ending forehand smash. Before you start sending out e-vites to your big ping-pong party, however, you should know that PPFM is sadly still just a concept. That said, they are currently looking for partners to help bring all the fun to local bars and/or basements near you, which means — it’s your serve.