Sport: Billiards
Tutor Table   (+1)  [vote for, against]
Billiard table that helps you learn to play

When someone is starting out to play billiards/pool/snooker, they tend to have a problem with getting the angles and power right for a well lined up shot. This idea should address this and make a fun way to learn to play.

Imbedded into the felt that covers the pool table, is included a grid array of optical fibre. This allows the functionality below to be achieved while not significantly affecting the physics of play.

When a player deems that they need help in lining up their shot, they can select the type of ball (overs/unders) to be targeted from a touch screen display on the side of the table, (or for billiards, they can select whether they have the white or yellow cue balls). This triggers the table's "scanning mode".

In Scanning Mode, a series of ocular detectors will determine whether there is a ball above that particular grid position, and the colour of ball that is there. This data allows the onboard computer to know the exact positions of all balls on the table.

The computer then figures out the best shot to make using the algorithms used for existing games like Virtual Pool, and then enter "display mode".

In Display Mode, light is passed down the optical fibres which form the optimum path from the user's cue ball to the target ball, cushion, or cannon ball and shows the rebound that will occur, tracing the cue ball's expected path and the expected path of the target ball.

This will allow the users to see the optimum path that they should take in order to sink the balls, thus removing that element from their practice set. All the user needs to focus on is their technique in order to achieve this calculated roll. The system will also allow the users to see different ways of targeting balls through practice which they may not have thought of, but the computer's AI will have been able to deduce.
-- reap, Jan 29 2003

Pool Trainer
[Shz, Oct 04 2004]

This is a nice idea; concise, well thought out, and quite practical. I'm trying to improve my snooker play at the moment on my half size table, and this would be good. I've toyed with a laser pointer taped to the cue but all I got was refelctions of the cue ball and little blue dots dancing before my eyes.

Rather than embedded fibre optics, i think it could be done with a video projector suspended over the table coaxial with a scanning camera, which could indicate the shot angle on voice command but also provide general white illumination when not required.

Croissant, left middle pocket.
-- 8th of 7, Jan 30 2003

I'd rather have Dennis Taylor coming along and drawing white lines all over the place, just like he does on the telly.
-- PeterSilly, Jan 30 2003

random, halfbakery