If you think Pong is low-tech, check-out this electromechanical rendition of the game!
As a sucker for electromechanical gadgets and goodies, I find stuff like this pretty cool! This guy created a playable, fully-functional Pong game execept he used motors, strings, pulleys, and other “low-tech” materials to build it. There are photos and movies available. For those of us who don’t speak German, we can be thankful that the videos have on-screen translation 😉
Rather than opting for something more modern like a microcontroller (or microprocessor) based control solution, he even built the “brains” of the system out of telephone relays. I found this especially impressive as the movement of the ball seems to vary depending on the angle which it strikes the boundaries or paddles (just like the computer game did) and I’m not sure how he achieved that functionality using relays. Well, I should rephrase that as how he achieved it using a relatively small number of relays.
The mechanical design of the game is very well done. The parts look machined and seem to be designed so there is a minimal amount of reflexive movement when the carriages reverse direction. The woodworking and overall design is clean and visually attractive. A very well done project IMO!
Now you know what you can do with all of those old printers you’ve got stashed in your closet or basement. The print-head carriage and associated stepper motors are just what you need to build your own. I knew those old printers would come in handy some day…