Sure. you can download an air hockey app from a given app store and play against your smartphone, but where’s the challenge in that? No, if you really want to see how you stack up against your favorite smart device, consider building a robotic rig that will give your device the hardware it needs to compete with you mano a mano. Now that is how you really decide who’s best in a physical game. And you just might find out that humans don’t always have the advantage.
The project is essentially an X-Y table that manipulates the paddle. The smartphone is placed on a tripod and watches the puck while it controls the paddle wirelessly. The smartphone (which is running a downloadable app that makes this work) is constantly crunching data and plotting trajectories that will eventually lead to your embarrassing failure as a superior challenger to its newborn physical prowess.
The project was created by Jose Julio at JJ Robotics, and you can get a kit to make your own robotic game table. But now I have to wonder if this is just the beginning of our smart devices reaching out from their digital domiciles and making a stand in our physical world.
Consider that the typical smartphone has the hardware needed to actually play the game, including visual processing and data crunching. With a built in wireless control capability, it isn’t limited to a standard set of limbs that humans must make do with. No, it can adapt to any hardware that it can connect with, and becoming an expert on using it is as close as an app download.
And with A.I. continuing to make giant strides, how long will it be until trash talking is part of the device’s repertoire? If you think it’s bad getting beat in air hockey by your smartphone now, just wait until it lays down the smack talk over beating you ten games in a row.
But for now, we should probably just enjoy a simple game of smartphone powered air hockey without questioning its eventual lead to artificial intelligence dominance of the physical world. Plus, you have to admit that this looks really fun. Now, let the games begin, foolish human!
The Invention of Air Hockey
Air hockey was invented by a group of Brunswick Billiards employees from 1969 to 1972. In 1969, a trio of Brunswick engineers – Phil Crossman, Bob Kendrick, and Brad Baldwin – began work on creating a game using a frictionless surface