Interactive Intersections

Traffic Light That Lets You Play Pong with Person on the Other Side Officially Installed in Germany video games urban intervention safety public interactive Germany

Christopher Jobson presents a new way to kill time while waiting for the light to change:

Back in 2012, a trio of interaction design students from HAWK University unveiled a concept for StreetPong, an interactive game of pong installed at a street crossing that allows you to play opponents waiting on the other side. The concept video (above) was viewed a bajillion times around the web, compelling designers Amelie Künzler, Sandro Angel, and Holger Michel to work with design firms and traffic experts to build a fully-functional device. After two years of waiting, the game units have been designed and approved for use by the city of Hildesheim, Germany where they were installed two weeks ago.

Chris Mills considers the practical implications:

Called ActiWait, the idea is reasonably simple: rather than the usual push-button to cross the street, you’ve got a touchscreen unit. It lets you play Pong with whoever’s waiting across the street, rather than losing yet again at Candy Crush. Pong is just the start, though: the developers want to enable all sorts of apps, like speed dating, or traffic safety eduction for children.

Apart from the obvious benefits to humanity of spontaneous Pong games, ActiWait has actual, tangible benefits. It could reduce jaywalking (and thus increase road safety), by providing something fun to do whilst waiting for the lights to turn. It’s also an interesting use of public space, both making it more interactive, and giving complete strangers a moment of connection.

Plus, Pong.