HoverBall Bids Farewell To Ballistic Motion

HoverBall! That's what you want if you are tired of that same tedious ballistic motion, the same boring curve over and over. Japanese inventor Jun Rekimoto's HoverBall allows you, the game designer, to assign whatever motion you like to the ball.


( Jun Rekimoto 's HoverBall)

[Jun Rekimoto] has reflected on how balls obey physical dynamics. "While this feature forms the foundation of ball-based sports we consider it might as well limit the possibility of them. For instance, the speed of balls could be too fast for small children, senior people, or people with physical disabilities." Rekimoto would like to see a flying ball based on quadcopter technology as becoming part of our play vocabulary. His ball can stay in the air longer and change its location and behavior according to sports game contexts. The ball, for example, could slow down for the elderly or young child during a game.

"With this technology," he wrote, "physical dynamics of a ball can be reprogrammed by sports designers, and new ball-playing vocabularies, such as hovering, anti-gravity, proximity, or remote manipulation, can be introduced to extend the way people interact with balls."

Kei Nitta, Keita Higuchi, and Rekimoto authored a paper, "HoverBall : Augmented Sports with a Flying Ball." The team presented their work at the Augmented Human conference in Kobe, Japan, earlier this month.

Star Wars fans of course remember Luke Skywalker practicing his light saber against a seeker remote. I wonder if Jun Rekimoto would consider adding a laser...?


(Luke practices with seeker remote)

Moving slowly to one side in an effort to get around the ball's fore sensors, Luke drew the saber back preparatory to striking. As he did so the ball darted in behind him. A thin pencil of red light jumped from one of the antennae to the back of Luke's thigh, knocking him to the deck even as he was bringing his saber around -- too late.

I'm thinking that fans of fantasy might also find a use for a fast golden ball that exhibits non-ballistic motion....

From PhysOrg. Thanks to Peter VanNess for the tip on this story!

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/21/2014)

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