Very Serious, Must-Buy Gadget of the Week: Air Table Tennis Paddle

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You guys! How many times have you thought to yourself (or said out loud, between fits of tears late at night after you’ve watched your third infomercial in a row and polished off an entire six-pack of Ramen) “I wish I could play ping pong, but I don’t have the available floor space, budget or friends!” We’ve all been there, albeit some of us more than others.

But what if I told you that thanks to the miracle of modern technology, you don’t need floor space, money or friends to play ping pong any more? Except that you need money. But not a lot of money—just $40. That’ll get you your very own Air Table Tennis paddle.

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And if you think the Air Table Tennis paddle simply makes a satisfying “tock” sound every time you swing it, you’d be sorely mistaken. Sorely, sorely mistaken indeed. No, the Air Table Tennis paddle features some of the most advanced internal electronics in the world of not-real ping pong. I’ll leave it to Firebox to explain the magic:

So how does it work? Well, the Air Table Tennis paddle makes all the sound effects of a real game; starting with a satisfying ‘tock’ as you serve the ball. You’ll then hear it bounce over the table to your virtual opponent and their return shot. Judge the speed of their shot from the time it takes to bounce on your side of the table. Match the timing with your swing and you’ll hear that satisfying ‘tock!’ as you bat it back again. Then simply repeat! With your virtual opponent varying the speed of their returns, it’s like playing table tennis with a figment of your imagination, or an invisible Forrest Gump. It might sound crazy, but it’s actually really intuitive and ludicrously addictive.

There are no—zero—rules against conversing with your imaginary partner. “How was your day, Julian? Did you have a good day or a bad day? Mine was fine. Marcy in Accounts Receivable accidentally forwarded the same e-mail to a big group of people, like, 50 times. It was hilarious. Classic Marcy. No, I don’t like her in that way! We’re just work friends! Come on, Julian!”

If there’s a strike against the Air Table Tennis paddle—and this would be a nitpick—it’s that it has a Smash button you can press to really put some mustard on your shots. There should be a hyper-advanced accelerometer that measures swing velocity instead. But when you’re a market leader in novelty electronic ping pong paddles, such an addition would probably just eat into your vast and mighty revenue stream.

Air Table Tennis Paddle [Firebox via Coolest Gadgets]