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Breakthroughs in Ping Pong, golf laziness

Posted by Christopher Shea  July 21, 2008 04:19 PM

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I don't mean to sound cavalier about green technology when I say, IMHO, that the winner of this year's Innovic Next Big Thing Award pales besides some of the runners-up. The prize is sponsored by the state of Victoria, in Australia, to promote ingenuity in the creation of marketable products, and this year's No. 1 was E-Crete, a concrete substitute made from waste producted by power stations. Congrats to Zeobond, the company that thought it up.

A bit more energizingly futuristic, however, is Your Shadow Caddy, a robotic cart that follows a golfer around the links, schlepping his or her clubs and balls (and beverages). It won the "people's choice" component of the contest. The robo-caddy takes its cues from a transmitter worn by the player. Your Shadow Technologies pitches it as the caddy for people who can't afford a human caddy -- especially golfers with minor aches and pains that keep them from carrying loads, but who don't want to go the lazy golf-cart route.

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It helps that the caddy won't snicker when you whiff. Very marketable, one suspects, if the price is right (the company says Australian golf courses have committed to buying some), but also vaguely creepy, in a "Wall-E" sort of way.

In a class of its own, however, is the Table Tennis Triples and Modular Table Tennis System, designed by a man, Guenter Arndt, who has been striving to push table tennis onward to the next level for nearly three decades. His first innovation, in essence just a round table, didn't go anywhere. But Ping Pong with three people on a side, and with movable table segments that allow for mix-and-match setups? Now we're talking Next Big Thing finalist.

triplesbetter.jpg
Ping pong: the next generation?


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There's even video of an exhibition match.

M.I.T. pong players, this ought to be a challenge of Sputnik-launch proportions.

Via Design Mind.

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