What is BongoPong?
BongoPong is an entirely new (I think) form of interactive gaming.
I knew right away that some day I would find a way to mod this kit and make it my own. A few weeks ago I stumbled across an article on HackADay about a clever hacker who had modified his pong kit to receive input from his flexed arm muscles.
This hack got me thinking about different ways that I could interface with my pong game, but every idea seemed overdone and not very original. Friday afternoon I was driving home from the store when I got the idea of controlling the game using an Indo board (also known as a Bongo board, hence the name).
Here’s an additional video of the fun:
I started work right away on the project. I quickly found out that Indo boards do not come cheap, with prices starting around $80, so I decided to make my own. For $6 I was able to get a short length of 5″ PVC pipe and a piece of wood (which I later replaced with the skateboard deck seen in the video below), and some small metal tubes to use for the tilt activated switches. The total expenditure was less than $20 for enough equipment to make a board for each player.
Here is a look at the tubes that I used to create the tilt switches, and a video of the switches on the workbench.
You can see a video of them at the workbench here.
Everything else just kind of came together with some tinkering.
In response to some of the concerns about the safety and difficulty of BongoPong, I’ve decided to (re)build the game, with the intention of making it a little more accessible to the masses. The rebuild will eventually include the ability to use the device with PC games instead of the Velleman Pong kit.
The image below shows all of the nesessary components required to build your own BongoPong:
New features of the BongoPong (re)build:
- Added stoppers to the ends of the board, much like the commercial Indo boards, to prevent the player from being thrown off the board.
- Replaced the skateboard deck with a standard piece of flat wood. The slightly parabolic shape of the skateboard deck increases the difficulty 10-fold.
- Wrapped the PVC pipe with foam rubber to simulate the rubber coating on the Indo board roller. The slight rubber cushion should slow the board, provide a smoother ride, and allow for additional control.
- Replaced the “rats nest” of electronic hookup wire with standard 4 strand USB cable for easier storage when not in use.
I’ll be practicing on the board throughout the night, we are currently in the middle of a typhoon with 118MPH winds – so I do not have to work the rest of the week. Videos should soon follow.