Air Hockey Table Embraces DOOM, Retro Gaming

[Chris Downing] recently finished up a major project that spanned some two years and used nearly every skill he possessed. The result? A smart air hockey table with retro-gaming roots. Does it play DOOM? It sure (kind of) does!

Two of the most striking features are the score board (with LCD screen and sound) and the play surface which is densely-populated with RGB LED lighting and capable of some pretty neat tricks. Together, they combine to deliver a few different modes of play, including a DOOM mode.

The first play mode is straight air hockey with automated score tracking and the usual horns and buzzers celebrating goals. The LED array within the table lights up to create the appearance and patterns of a typical hockey rink.

DOOM hockey mode casts one player as Demons and the other as the Doom Slayer, and the LED array comes to life to create a play surface of flickering flames. Screams indicate goals (either Demon screams or Slayer screams, depending on who scores!)

In retrogaming emulation mode, the tabletop mirrors the screen.

Since the whole thing is driven by a Raspberry Pi, the table is given a bit of gaming flexibility with Emulation Mode. This mode allows playing emulated retro games on the scoreboard screen, and as a super neat feature, the screen display is mirrored on the tabletop’s LED array. [Chris] asserts that the effect is imperfect, but to us it looks at least as legible as DOOM on 7-segment displays.

This project is a great example of how complex things can get when one combines so many different types of materials and fabrication methods into a single whole. The blog post has a lot of great photos and details, but check out the video (embedded below) for a demonstration of everything in action. Continue reading “Air Hockey Table Embraces DOOM, Retro Gaming”

An Awesome Interactive LED Table

If you want to create a large display with a matrix of LEDs, it’s a relatively straightforward process. Thanks to addressable LED tape and microcontrollers it becomes more of a software issue than one of hardware. [Vincent Deconinck] had some inexpensive WS2812 strips, so he sliced into an inexpensive IKEA coffee table  and mounted them in a grid beneath an acrylic sheet. Some work with Arduino Nanos and a Raspberry Pi later, and he had a very acceptable LED matrix table.

An attractive hack, you might say, and leave it at that. But he wasn’t satisfied enough to leave it there, and so to make something rather special he decided to add interactivity. With an infra-red emitter and receiver as part of each pixel, he was able to turn an LED table into an LED touchscreen, though to be slightly pedantic it’s not sensing touch as such.

The design of the IR sensors was not entirely straightforward though, because to ensure reliable detection and avoid illumination from the LED they had to be carefully mounted and enclosed in a tube. He also goes into some detail on the multiplexing circuitry he used to drive the whole array from more Arduinos and a GPIO expander.

The write-up for this project is a long one, but it’s well worth the read as the result is very impressive. There are several videos but we’ll show you the final one, the table playing touch screen Tetris.

Continue reading “An Awesome Interactive LED Table”