SXSW 2014 Interactive Awards Finalist: OpenPool has been nominated as a finalist in the Amusement category of the 2014 SXSW Interactive Awards!
OpenPool completely changes billiard experience
OpenPool allows you to play billiard with beautiful interactive visual effects. By adding a few pieces of devices, your existing billiard table turns into a futuristic gaming machine!
OpenPool is open source. So not only can you play, but you can also create and add on your own effects. Let's walk through some pictures of OpenPool projecting different effects to see what OpenPool looks like.
You can enjoy OpenPool if you are...
Billiard fans Of course!
Bar / Billiard hall owners OpenPool can be a big attraction for your business. Even one table will make difference. Especially, the bar is perfectly suitable for OpenPool, because of the lighting environment; the dark surrounding environment enhances the amazing experience created by OpenPool.
Professional billiard players
It's true we often receive feedback like "Isn't OpenPool distracting when you play a serious game?", but actually, our interview to professional players showed that they also think they can enjoy OpenPool for fun!
Programmers / Engineers / Designers / Creators
You can create your own effects because it's open source! Write some code, invite your friends, and play OpenPool with your coolest self-made effects! Our recommendation is to use Unity3D to create a new effect, but you can write it with your favorite language from Java to ActionScript. For more details, please read the "For developer" section below.
Moms and Dads You already have a pool table in your house? How often do you actually play? If your table is gathering dust, let's give a new life to it. Kids need something to play with other than video games. Billiard is just the right sport for them!
So far, we exhibited OpenPool in the United States and Japan and we discovered a simple borderless truth; kids really love OpenPool. It doesn't matter that they don't know how to use cues. Once kids glance OpenPool, they rush and start to play with their hands, create new rules, and make friends with others they didn't know a few minutes ago.
CEOs Many cool tech companies have pool tables in their office. Google, Facebook, Microsoft... you name it. Even a usual pool table attracts smart engineers. If you get this cool stuff in your office, more and more smart people will want to join your company!
Co-working Space Organizers / College Dorm Managers OpenPool is great for co-working spaces, where a variety of people are living and working in the same place, because it provides a place where people from different backgrounds can get together. The same applies to college dormitories!
A Kinect2 watches the locations of the balls on a millisecond basis, and a projector shows cool effects around the moving balls. All you have to do is just attach a Kinect2 and a projector on to the ceiling using our originally designed OpenPool Mount. OpenPool is designed to allow you to use your own billiard table and other items you already have, so that you can start experiencing OpenPool with minimal investment.
Also, the OpenPool Pocket Detector, an original sensor device put on each pocket, made of mbed, LEDs, IR sensors and a 3D-printed case, sends signals when a ball falls into a pocket. In the "Where we are now" section below, you can see some pictures of the prototype.
What do I get? OpenPool DIY Kit.
If you pledge for OPENPOOL DIY KIT, you'll get:
The OpenPool Core App
The OpenPool Mount
The OpenPool "How to DIY" Guide
OPENPOOL DIY KIT with POCKET DETECTOR will give you:
Open Pool DIY KIT (everything mentioned above)
The OpenPool Pocket Detectors
Whether the Pocket Detector can be installed on your table depends on which type of table you own. Our experiments showed that the device worked best with the most used pool table from Brunswick, Gold Crown series. So if you own one, the Pocket Detector is just the thing for you! In other cases, you'll need to put the sensors on the 6 pockets by yourself. Pocket Detectors are especially for DIYers.
What else do I need?
Please note, because OpenPool DIY Kit doesn't include the items below, you'll need to get them by yourself. But don't worry, you can get these things on Amazon or any other stores out there. We'll also provide the How to DIY guide to help guide you through the process of setting up your OpenPool.
Items you'll need:
Billiard table, cues, balls, chalks, and everything you need when you play pool in an ordinary way
A Kinect2 (Kinect for Windows v2). The new version is required. It is said to be released this summer
A projector. Our recommendation is BenQ's one. Please see the "Specs and Environments" section below for more details
A Windows 8 PC. Kinect2 requires Windows 8! OpenPool doesn't work on Mac or Linux at this moment
Grey cloth (optional). Although not required to get OpenPool to work, it's highly recommended. The playing experience is much better when using OpenPool on grey colored cloth, instead of green or red. We attached a picture in the "Specs and Environments" section below
The picture below briefly summarizes how you will use the DIY kit and other items to setup OpenPool.
Once you receive the OpenPool DIY Kit and have all other items ready, start DIY! You'll have to prepare some drivers and spanners, as well as set aside half a day from your weekend, but don't worry; it'll be very easy.
OpenPool Pro Kit
We also offer OpenPool Pro Kit. We'll get a Kinect2, projector and PC for you and send them to you.
A projector is going to be the same one which we use usually. Also, we'll ship you a PC, in which we pre-installed necessary softwares in advance.
Though you still need to put the PC and the projector in your room by yourself, it may be much simpler, and a good choice for those who are not very good at DIY.
Why we need you & Where we are now
We've been working on developing OpenPool for over a year. We need your help to let us take this prototype to production-level and deliver it to you. We want more and more people to play OpenPool and create effects for it to unleash your imagination, and in the end, make a community together.
The OpenPool Core App:
We developed the first prototype of core software that works with two old-version Kinects. Everything worked fine as you can see in the video and photos above, except for one problem: using two Kinects simultaneously causes IR interference which results in noise in the middle of the table.
But the great news is the problem will be solved with Kinect2. While Microsoft is scheduled to release the new one this summer, we already started development for Kinect2, as we luckily got chosen as one of the members for the Kinect for Windows v2 Developer Preview program. We'll be working on finalizing our software by then!
EFFECT "SEA SAW"
The sample effect included in OpenPool DIY Kit is named Sea Saw, created by tange films. Tange films is one of the coolest animation movie studios in Tokyo. The OpenPool team collaborated with them and created this super cool effect for Kickstarter. You'll like it!
The OpenPool Mount:
Our prototype, as mentioned above, uses two old-version Kinects which made us have to put things separately like in this picture.
To solve this, we started to develop the OpenPool Mount. Fortunately, Kinect2 was introduced, so now we can put the sensor in the middle of the ceiling over the table. It will enable everyone to install necessary things far easier than before. Here are some CAD pictures. We have not developed a physical prototype of this version mount for new Kinect yet, but we are working harder to get it ready for production.
The OpenPool Pocket Detector:
We have been through many upgrades when it comes to Pocket Detector. The prototypes are working perfectly. We just need a bit of improvement to get it ready for shipment.
Good Design Award has been a sole comprehensive design evaluation and commendation system in Japan since 1957.
AT&T AdWorks Lab in New York
One of our prototypes is installed in AT&T AdWorks Lab in NY.
If you are an engineer or a designer, you can enjoy further expanding what OpenPool can do, creating your own effect, or even contributing to the core development. First of all, look at this system architecture.
As some of you may already know well, OSC is a protocol for communication among computers. What OpenPool Core App does is just broadcast OSC, so basically any language that can handle OSC will work with the OpenPool Core App. Actually, the effect Sea Saw is one of them; The See Saw effect receives OSC broadcast by the Core App. Simple, eh? It must be instantly understandable for those who are familiar with OSC.
Although effects can be written in any language, our recommendation is to use Unity3D. The Sea Saw was created with the game engine too. In other environments, you'll need to code OSC receiver function by yourself at this time.
Also, this means you can do anything besides creating effects. For example, you can create something using LED lights, that turns on and off interactively just like effects.
To tell the truth, the OpenPool Pocket Detector, the additional device that tells you when a ball falls in a pocket, was born in this process. It's open wide to developers. Try making new games and devices!
Anyway, more detailed documentation and SDK will be posted on our website. We'll work hard on writing as well as coding, so stay tuned!
Specifications and Environments:
Unlike other Kickstarter hardware projects, OpenPool is not a portable device. So you may want to check out your environment before entering in your pledge.
Here are the three simple steps you should check before pledging:
1. Space: Is there enough space to accommodate a pool table? (If you already have one, you have nothing to worry on this step).
2. Height: Suppose you use 9ft table: The height between the table-top and the Kinect2 lense should be about 180cm (6ft). Plus, OpenPool mount needs some more space between Kinect2 and the ceiling, which should be about 15~30cm (0.5~1ft). When you use 8ft table, just multiply 8/9, so the height needs between the table-top and the Kinect 2 lense should be about 160cm (5 1/4 ft). Also, you will need to take care of the cable length.
3. Brightness: If you have freedom in turning on/off the light of the room, that's perfect. If not, you should consider the brightness of the room. The darker the room the better the experience you will get from OpenPool.
Recommended Configuration for Host Machine
In order to run the Kinect for Windows V2 Sensor and Kinect enabled Windows applications, we recommend a machine with the following software and hardware configuration:
4GB Memory (or more)
i7 CPU running @ 2.5GHz (or higher)
Built-in USB 3.0 port (Intel or Renesas chipset)
DX11 capable graphics adapter (see list of known good adapters below)
Known Good Graphics Adapters Here is a list of good known adapters:
Intel HD 4000 integrated display adapter (or better)
ATI Radeon HD 5400 Series
ATI Radeon HD 6570
ATI Radeon HD 7800 (256bit GDDR5 2GB/1000MHz)
NVidia Quadro 600
NVidia GeForce GT 640
NVidia GeForce GTX 660
NVidia Quadro K1000M
USB 3.0 Host Adapter
If you’re adding USB 3.0 functionality to a current PC by installing a USB 3.0 host adapter (PCIe), please verify that the USB 3.0 host adapter supports Gen-2. Please note that you may have to try different PCI-e slots to find one that provides the USB bandwidth required by the sensor. We’ve found that plugging the host adapter into one of the graphics slots works best.
OpenPool works with any colored cloth. Below shows what OpenPool looks like with different colored cloth.
We translated what's written on the sidebar into a bit more graphical picture. Hope it helps!
HOW T-SHIRT, HOODIE AND STICKER LOOK LIKE
In today’s world, the value of physical communication is being re-acknowledged over virtual communication through PC screens. In communal locations such as offices and campuses, where a large percentage of peoples’ everyday life are spent, the billiards table can work as a natural oasis for a wide variety of people with different backgrounds to gather.
Billiard’s unique characteristic, that it’s possible to chat while playing, makes OpenPool an ideal tool for communication.
Risks and challenges
Like many Kickstarter projects, we may face risks and challenges.
On the software side, first of all, we have a delay risk regarding Kinect2 (Kinect for Windows v2). It is said that Microsoft, the company who sells the sensor, will release Kinect for Windows v2 this summer, but the specific release date is not announced yet. We'll be able to start shipping OpenPool DIY Kit after the official release of Kinect2 for Windows, while we keep on development as we already got one; we are one of the qualified teams for Kinect for Windows Developer Preview program.
Aside from the development specifically for Kinect2, our software is working almost perfectly. But we still need to improve the interface and optimize the code to make it as simple as possible. Also, since OpenPool is open source, documentation is very important. We have a lot to do, but as the vital parts of OpenPool are done, we are confident we can complete everything by the shipment.
As for the original hardware, the OpenPool Mount and the OpenPool Pocket Detector, we have developed quite stable prototypes so far. The last thing we have to do is finalize the design to take the prototypes to production. Although there is always the risk of unpredictable challenges when we try to finalize a product, we've chosen a manufacturer that has a lot of experience in producing hardware products in Japan and keep close communication with them to minimize any risks. We'll keep you posted on our progress.
[EARLY BIRD] OPENPOOL PRO KIT with Pocket Detector: You'll get OpenPool DIY Kit, a pre-setup PC, a projector and Kinect2 and OpenPool Pocket Detector. Please read the description to see what it looks like!
ULTIMATE NINJA: Ninjas from the OpenPool Team will bring you everything necessary for OpenPool (except for a pool table), to anywhere in the United States (mainland), and physically set it up. After installation, let's have dinner together.