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Play Pong At The Crosswalk While You Wait For The Light To Change

A dull part of our day becomes fun.

Waiting for that little walk guy at a crosswalk can feel like an eternity. The founders of a new company, Urban Invention, want to make those lost moments of our lives more amusing and social.

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Their solution is an impromptu video game you play against fellow commuters called Streetpong. Touch screens are installed in place of crosswalk buttons on each side of a street. When someone at each side touches the screen, it automatically initiates a duel of Pong. Whoever has the high score when the crosswalk opens again wins.

Maybe that idea sounds silly to you. But Streetpong could have a real impact on how people experience cities. Crosswalks are just one of many moments that the average city dweller suffers through in a given day. Streetpong offers a non-cloying way to interact with strangers on the street, as well as a fun diversion to debating another jaywalk.

Streetpong originally went viral two years ago as a concept by two students from HAWK University for Applied Sciences and Arts, but since then, they’ve founded a company and installed a pair of real prototypes in the German cities of Hildesheim and Oberhausen. Now, they’re raising money on Indiegogo in hopes of taking Streetpong’s hardware platform further, and building out all sorts of other interactions into the experience–from citizen surveys to speed dating.

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About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company who has written about design, technology, and culture for almost 15 years. His work has appeared at Gizmodo, Kotaku, PopMech, PopSci, Esquire, American Photo and Lucky Peach

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