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MetamorHockey: A Projection-based Virtual Air Hockey Platform Featuring Transformable Mallet Shapes

Shun Ueda, Shingo Kagami, and Koichi Hashimoto
SIGGRAPH 2021 Emerging Technologies


It is a common practice to add lighting and sound effects to enhance the excitement and engagement in air hockey games. The efforts made along this direction include the use of augmented reality (AR) technology. Beyond simply adding an effect, it has the potential to transform the game itself by, for example, making the hockey puck replaced with a virtual image that moves in a way physically impossible.

In this study, we propose an AR air hockey system that virtually visualizes not only pucks but also mallets (also called strikers or paddles). The movement of the mallet is difficult to predict when compared to that of the puck, and when the prediction is wrong, it is clearly perceived as a deviation from the position of the hand. Therefore, displaying the virtual mallet image requires significantly lower latency than displaying the puck does. We overcame this hurdle by applying our custom low-latency DMD projector.

This system allows infinite possibilities in game design. In addition to being able to control the difficulty level by changing the size of the mallet, players can define their own shape and movement of the mallet as well as the collision detection conditions and the physical characteristics. Because some mallet designs offer advantages whereas other designs may introduce difficulties in playing, it is also possible to incorporate strategic factors, like in card games, such as the order in which a given set of designs should be used.

  • Shun Ueda, Shingo Kagami and Koichi Hashimoto, MetamorHockey: A Projection-based Virtual Air Hockey Platform Featuring Transformable Mallet Shapes, 48th ACM SIGGRAPH International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH 2021 Emerging Technologies), Virtual Event, U.S.A., August 9–13, 2021.