Taking skateboarding to the 21st century

Copy, Paste, Skate explores how interactive technology can support the experience of doing Skateboarding tricks. It pushes the envelope of interactive technology used in sports, venturing out of the well familiar grounds of systems for performance focused sports (think of the many systems for joggers for example) and into the realm of trick-focused sports.

The Copy Paste Skate system offers skaters novel ways of re-living their tricks right after they have attempted them. Rather than presenting the athlete with numbers on a screen minutes after the fact, we augment the entire skating environment with perceptually rich information regarding tricks. Our system addresses the full scale of senses vital to skating: hearing, vision and touch.

Over 20 local skaters have put Copy Paste Skate to the test, and many of them talked about how the system “brings the tricks to life” and “adds a new level to the skateboarding experience”.

What it does

Copy Paste Skate consists of three main components. Each of these provides skaters with feedback regarding their trick just after the attempt. Visualizations of the movement path of the board during the trick are projected onto the environment at real size. Slowed down audio recordings of the attempt are re-played. Finally, the entire floor vibrates strongly in the the rhythm of the skaters’ movements during trick attempts.

How it works

Small infrared lights mounted to the board are captured by a modified digital camera. The camera takes 2.5 second long exposure photos. The photos show light-paths of the movement of the board during those 2.5 seconds. Custom-built software immediately takes and edits the photos, and sends them to projectors.

A high-performance microphone captures sounds of tricks, after which software replays the audio at half speed and at 1.5 times the original volume through a large speaker.

Information about the skateboard’s movements is derived from the recorded audio, and sent to a high-power low-frequency audio transducer. This is effectively a heavy-duty subwoofer that doesn’t produce sound, but rather uses its weight to vibrate any surface it is mounted on. We configured it to vibrate large interconnected floor panels.

Media Coverage

The Australian: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/australian-it/government/sport-meets-technology-in-a-game-changer/story-fn4htb9o-1226519883093

Channel 10:


Pijnappel, S. Mueller, F. 2013. 4 Design Themes for Skateboarding. CHI 2013. Note. 4 pages. 30 sec preview videoVideoRecorded talkBEST PAPER HONORABLE MENTION.

Here is Sebastiaan’s excellent talk about “4 Design Themes for Skateboarding” at CHI2013, including a skateboarding trick on stage!