Winner of the UIST 2013 Student Innovation Contest People's Award! (Oct 10, 2013). WaterPong is our entry for the UIST 2013 Student Innovation Contest. In honor of PONG, it's a two-player mashup of ping pong and air hockey - just with water pumps! You play at an interactive, rear-projected, computer-vision-enhanced, water-flooded table (of course!). Shoot water from 4 pumps by hitting humongous arcade buttons! Score goals by propelling the ball into your opponent's end zone! Pick up power-ups for special boosts! | Website



Special thanks to Dr. Thorsten Karrer, Prof. Jan Borchers and all beta testers in the lab for their feedback!


Physical Control

An Arduino microcontroller board detects button presses, tells the PumpSpark controller to shoot water from the pumps, and activates power-ups by lighting up buttons and changing pump behavior. This is a separate, autonomous system, which means that the basic game will continue to work even if the attached laptop, projector, or camera fail - important for robust behavior in the frenzy of a live non-stop demo night with hundreds of players and spectators! People just continued playing even when we decided to restart the software running on the laptop.

Gameplay Software

Vision Ball Tracker

Color and contour tracking using OpenCV.

Basic Gameplay

Each player uses four buttons to activate water pumps to push a ball away from their own end zone and towards their opponent's. Each player has an ammo bar and a score displayed on the table in front of him. Ammo decreases each time the player shoots water from a pump; pushing the ball beyond the other player's end zone line increases your score.

The game ends when one player scores ten goals, or when a player runs out of ammo.

Bonus Power-Ups

From time to time, power-ups appear at random positions on the playing field. If the ball passes over a power-up, the player who was driving the ball over the power-up with his water jets (i.e., the player the ball was moving away from) gets it. Ball movement direction is determined using computer vision.

Currently there are 3 exciting power-ups:

Game Interaction Rules