Revisiting Beer Pong While Social Distancing

How a clever mash-up of digital technologies enabled a beer pong enthusiast to trade the close confines of a Dartmouth fraternity basement for safe remote gaming.
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. - May 4, 2020 - PRLog -- During his final year at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, Spencer Adams-Rand would take the occasional study break to play games of beer pong at the neighboring fraternity and sorority houses, known for close quarters and shared beers. So, what to do a year later when a pandemic separates you from friends and generally turns life upside down? Use your tech skills and unexpected free time to get creative.

Currently furloughed from his engineering job in the Silicon Valley, Adams-Rand, 23, developed an interactive digital version of beer pong to approximate those lively college times — but this time with the rules of social distancing observed and the drinking optional.

"Corona Pong" is an augmented reality game that lets two friends play pong together from the safety of their homes. Each player sets up a table with plastic cups—red Solo cups being the iconic choice. Players take turns throwing ping pong balls into cups while an overhead camera captures the action and remotely projects each play onto the other players' table. Everything needed to play the game can be readily purchased online for less than $100 including a small webcam and lightweight projector. A concurrent Zoom call provides players with a live video feed for the competitive banter that completes the game experience.

Adams-Rand worked with a friend, Brandon Warren, to build the program using Python with OpenCV, which powered the ball action tracking capability, Unity to establish the 3D visual world projected on the tables, and Blender to design the realistic 3D models. The program is currently being tested with friends and family, but if Adams-Rand's work furlough persists much longer, a commercial version is likely not far beyond.

(Photos and video of the game experience are available)

Spencer Adams-rand
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Location:Redwood City - California - United States
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