July 20th, 2021—
Beer pong and its derivatives are some of the most enjoyed games on college campuses, but they are not all that exciting with just a few cups at either end of a plastic folding table. Meet the Interactive Pong Table, which was created by Instructables user boregan1. It features a fully-custom tabletop gaming experience with a large LED matrix running underneath the center and 20 total cup zones that can be used to play more intriguing games. There are even arcade buttons surrounding the sides of the table that act as video game controllers when the players just want a quick game.
A total of four Arduino Nanos were used to build the Interactive Pong Table, with each one being responsible for a single aspect and communicating with the others via the I2C protocol. At the heart is the main controller which handles the central RGB LED matrix and the game logic. It can display fun, animated graphics in the middle of the table and even run classic pong. The cups at either end of the table are tracked with the use of infrared emitter/receiver pairs that change their voltage whenever a cup is removed. This allows the LEDs underneath the cups to light up or play an animation if one is removed. Additionally, the game running on the main controller can keep score of which player has fewer cups remaining.
The Interactive Pong Table is a well-built project that showcases how creative one can be with just a few boards and some RGB LEDs. You can read more about it here on Instructables or see a demo below!