Electronic Product Design

Tuesday, 21 June 2016 00:00 Written by

Pong IRL

16-06-21 pong 2001972 was a spectacular year, for many reasons, not just because my beloved Tottenham Hotspur won the first ever UEFA Cup final. No. 1972 was the year video game pioneer title Pong was released by Atari, gracing our screens with an actual game to played against an actual computer, right in your living room. Gaming has taken unfathomable leaps since that time, and we rest upon the precipice of a world immersed in virtual reality environments.

That hasn’t stopped three chaps bringing Pong into the 21st Century in a form that resembles an air-hockey table.

Built with Arduino

Daniel Perdomo and two friends brought their 70s throwback to life using the popular Arduino hobbyist kit, programming the entire game from the ground-up. The result is actually quite delightful and should instantly trigger nostalgic memories for those early days of gaming.

"This project started about two years ago. I had the idea and I was talking with a few friends and [decided] to take the challenge and see how far could we go, working at nights in the free time. Just for fun," said Perdomo, who works in computer graphics for advertising. "We don't have any electronics, product design, or manufacturing background. All we knew for this was thanks to the Internet.”

The project has taken over two years to complete, but Perdomo maintains that this is a working prototype, with sight firmly set on scaling up production. In a testament to the genesis of many electronic products, the prototype has been entirely handmade. Beneath the sleek black glass surface are V-groove rails to direct the assembly between player points, all controlled by the Arduino “brain”. In another nice touch, Perdomo and his friends added rainbow LED lights to track and display player scores.


As others have pointed out, removing Pong from the confines of the television cabinet and into the real world was an excellent idea. The physical engagement with a game like Pong, in the style of an air-hockey table delivers a not entirely new experience, but certainly one that will keep you coming back.

Much like the original, I suspect.

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