Inspiration

The ability of the Sensel to detect not only human touch, but the presence of any physical object on the touchpad and the pressure with which it strikes.

What it does

It's an app to allow you to remotely play pong with any friends you may have, wherever they are. All you need is a Sensel and a ping pong ball, and you throw the ping pong ball at the sensel, aiming for the target areas (indicated by an overlay). If you strike one, you gain points on the app, which is synced to your opponent's app.

How we built it

We built this app using the Python API available for the sensel on the sensel github. Although documentation was sparse (the sensel is brand new), we were able to get a grasp of how it works and manage to get the python code controlling the target areas on the sensel, and pushing data up to the Parse backend whenever a target area was successfully hit. The Parse backend then pushed that data to the phone app of the player and his opponent, indicating whether the player's score increased.

Challenges we ran into

The Sensel is said to have a bluetooth adapter in the kickstarter description and in all the videos, but we did not realize until we finished making the phone app that the bluetooth was missing from the prototype version given to us at VandyHacks. Thus, we ended up having to connect the Sensel physically to a computer, which runs python code that sends all the data to a backend.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Although we discovered far too late that the Sensel does not currently support bluetooth, we were still able to get a working backend and the computer connected with the Sensel properly synced up to the smartphone app displaying the score.

What we learned

None of us had worked with Python before, but that's the only choice available for the Sensel api currently. In addition, it was our first time working with the Sensel, or with Parse. We learned how to use all those things at this hackathon.

What's next for SenselPong

Interfacing through bluetooth directly with the smartphone app, once the Sensel gets Bluetooth.

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