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Originally created to foreshadow a future pairing with their Watsonx Ai, IBM asked us to design and fabricate smart table tennis paddles that were used in their “Calling the Shots” activation at SXSW. 

Our creative technologists developed custom software and hardware to calculate serve speed, distinguish between forehand vs. backhand hits, and track general ball trajectory. We also created animations that represented a participant’s “real time game play”, as well as a post-game dashboard that kept track of stats from each game that participants played. 

Once fully integrated with WatsonAi, the second and third phases of the project boasted improved swing and hit accuracy and enabled participants to have their game play narrated by three different styles of AI generated commentators.

The overwhelming success of the project led to it being recreated internationally in places like Paris and London.

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