German authorities have installed a novel new feature which allows pedestrians to play Pong with each other while waiting at traffic lights.
Officially known as StreetPong, the new invention has been fitted to a junction in the German town of Hildesheim and has also been rolled out to Oberhausen in the north of the country.
Designed by two students from HAWK University to inject a little fun into the everyday walk to work, StreetPong is also hoped to reduce the amount of pedestrian-related collisions in urban areas.
First conceived as a university project, StreetPong’s success has led to its founders Amelie Kunzler and Sandro Engel forming their own company, Urban Invention.
An end to boredom?
The two developers say it has the potential to “convert boring waiting times into positive experiences”, as well as discouraging people from darting through traffic instead of waiting for the lights.
Combining a touchpad with the classic arcade tennis game Pong, the display shows pedestrians how long they have to wait until the next green light and also works as a match timer for the game.
Pedestrians standing at opposite ends of the road can then use the touchpad to move their bats and play the game with each other, with the touchpad display also showing scores.
5 million views
The developers have released a concept video showing how it would work, with over five million people having watched it since it first debuted on the internet.
Since then, the pair have received interest from other cities around the world including Lyon and Oslo, with the only problem apparently that people might spend too much time playing with the lights.
Currently, there aren’t any plans to roll out StreetPong to the UK, but one Hong Kong-based company recently released its plans to create a video game which you can play while you drive.
Game development company the Baen Project has pioneered an innovative piece of kit, the Baen Cube, which connects to the diagnostics port of a car and transforms any commute into a real-life adventure.
The Cube uses data from the vehicle and GPS positioning to transform your car into a battle machine via an interactive display, and drivers can collect items and even challenge other players as they drive.
Safety features are also in place to prevent drivers from actually using the screen while in motion; it’s only when the car is brought to a complete stop that users can interact with the game’s progress.
Jaguar Land Rover also recently announced its own version of a game you can play while driving as part of its futuristic Virtual Windscreen technology, which displays “ghost” cars you can race while driving.