Two years ago, three German design students set out to solve the most first-world problem that ever was: what to do when waiting to cross the street. Their solution? A system that lets you play Pong with pedestrians on the other side of the street. A few years and one re-branding later, their system is bettering real-world lives in Hildesheim.
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.
Although one working prototype is currently installed in the German city of Hildesheim, the developers have launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to develop it further. In order to reach a wider user base, ActiWait needs more software development, a better case, and safety testing. If it can achieve all that (which, apparently, will require about $US43,000), you might see ActiWait livening up crosswalks across the US in the not-too-distant future. Better get honing your game. [Indiegogo via Colossal]