EMF Fire Pong

One of the installations that consistently drew a large crowd after dark at EMF Camp 2016 was a game. This wasn’t a conventional computer game though, instead it was a line of gas jets along which a pair of players had to bat a jet of flame between them at ever-increasing speed until one player missed the return. This was the Fire Pong game created by members of Nottingham Hackspace, and though there seems to have been no online write-up of it as yet they have posted enough pictures of its build for us to deduce something of its construction.

A network of gas pipes and jets with all valves brought out to a clearly labeled control panel appears to control the gas flow through solenoid valves connected to a relay board driven by what appears to be an Arduino Pro Mini. The bats are huge for theatrical effect, but contain accelerometers to sense player swipes and send the information back to the gas control circuits. A pair of much larger flame generators indicate the end of a rally, and the score is displayed on a large LED scoreboard. There is very likely to be more to the system than we can glean from these pictures and a shot of the various components, but as yet we are so-to-speak in the dark on their details.

If you will excuse the quality constraints of a mobile phone camera in a darkened field, a video of the game in action is below the break. There was a significant queue for a turn at the bat, this was one of the event’s more popular night-time attractions.

There is nothing quite like Fire Pong in the Hackaday back catalogue. Someone made a mechanical Pong table, but it’s probably the LED tower gravity Pong that’s closest in that it’s a night-time attraction.



8 thoughts on “EMF Fire Pong

    1. I was “aware” of non-tendo wiimote use, even got one paired to android and messed around, but until a month or two ago, didn’t click that yeah that is a REALLY convenient package…. so only just started hoarding them LOL

  1. A google search using ’emf fire pong’ currently has this article as the top hit, and the following wiki page by its creators:


    I think this qualifies as an online writeup, and it has a fair amount of detail.

    P.S. I was a bit taken aback at the permissions requested by your site’s twitter integration. I’ll assume it’s not intentional, but asking for the ability to post tweets, add followers and edit my profile is just not cool.

    1. You can’t win ’em all :)

      I wrote this on-site immediately after a chat with one of the creators of Fire Pong who’d just told me there was no write-up of the project online.

      (edit) Re your Twitter query, AFAIK the login is all handled by the WordPress people not by Hackaday, so it’s out of our hands.

  2. It made a loud buzzing sound. I think this was due to spark generators to light the gas. They seemed to operate continously during operation in case gas was released and needed to catch fire. There were other flame based shows too elsewhere. One had a large whoop type explosion.

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