La TABLA

La Tabla is a magical table—put things on it and they come to life. Make music and animations. Play games. Design your own pinball tables. Use your body, your friends, paper, drawings, game pieces—whatever strikes your fancy.

Pinball

Ever wanted to design your own pinball table? It's never been easier. Use paper and objects to design your layout. Play it with a game controller. La Tabla Pinball is a great tool for learning the fundamentals of level design. Touch, experiment with, and rapidly iterate your table layout.

Make Music

Make music that sounds great—no musical experience necessary! Sheets of paper become musical scores for a variety of instruments: software synthesizers, MIDI instruments, and robits—tiny robots that play the xylophone! Draw, place objects, or use your hands to manipulate the song.

Ball Pit

La Tabla has a ball pit, because let's be honest—a pile of bouncing balls is all you really need to have fun.

Animate

Make animations. Draw the frames one at a time, or use objects for a stop-motion style. Reuse images from magazines or the Internet. Make a mash up.

Tabla Tennis

Of course we had to make the granddaddy of video games! Cut your own paddles out of foam core. As many players as you want: four, eight, three, a hundred, one, or zero. It's up to you. Redesign the playfield. Cheat. You and your friends make the rules.

Get Weird

Play anything. La Tabla makes activities—games, toys, and tools—open to playful and improvisational reimagining.

Play

Build One

La Tabla is open source, and the parts—a computer, web cam, and projector—are relatively inexpensive. Sign up to find out when it's ready.

Game Jam

Have an idea for a La Tabla project? Of course you do! Join the upcoming game jam. Sign up for emails and we'll send the invite. Viva La Tabla!

Exhibits

Organizing an exhibit or event? Want to host a La Tabla installation? Contact us: exhibit@tablaviva.org.

Stay Updated

Keep updated on the latest La Tabla news. Learn about upcoming game jams and exhibitions. You can also follow La Tabla on Twitter: @TablaViva.

Back Story

La Tabla is Chaim Gingold's (Spore, Earth: A Primer) first project since finishing his Ph.D. about play. While doing his dissertation research, Chaim became fascinated by adventure playgrounds—unusual playgrounds that children themselves build out of wood, nails, and junk. Chaim became interested in designing flexible play environments in which players could introduce whatever materials and rules they wanted, and which combined the digital and physical. Meanwhile, his colleagues (Bret Victor, Robert Ochshorn, and Toby Schachman) had begun experimenting with projection mapping and computer vision, which inspired Chaim to begin making La Tabla.

It began with the bouncing balls and pong game. Chaim then joined forces with talented designer/programmer/musician Luke Iannini (Rumpus, Artikulator), to create the music mode. Luke contributed his expertise in music and sound synthesis, design and coding chops, and psychedelic shader powers. Another colleague, Paula Te, built the Arduino powered xylophone, and contributed sketches for the music characters. The rest is history.

La Tabla introduces a groundbreaking way to interact with computers. Rather than using a finger to click on a mouse or poke at a screen, you reach into the simulation world with two hands, bringing the full force of your hominid dexterity and playfulness to the table. Because you can put whatever you like—coins, stones, books, drawings, yourself—into the simulation world, play is surprisingly improvisational and open-ended. Playing with others doesn't require sharing a mouse, keyboard, or network connection. Everyone sees and touches the same thing, which is such a profound way to interact that we take it for granted during our everyday, non-computerized, life.

Press kit media (41 mb)

Acknowledgements

La Tabla was made by Chaim Gingold and Luke Iannini.

Paula Te built the Arduino xylophone and contributed character designs to the music mode.

Special thanks to Dynamic Medium members past and present: Bret Victor, Paula Te, Toby Schachman, Josh Horowitz, Glen Chiaccieri, Robert Ochschorn, Michael Nagle, Virginia McArthur, Jennifer Jacobs, Chaim Gingold, and Luke Iannini.

Video Friends: Vi Hart, M Eifler, Andrea Hawksley, Nina Walia, Le Wei, Gina Collechia, Jeremy Herrman, Mike Rotondo, and Nicky Case.

Animators: Nicky Case, Tara Parker-Essig, David Hellman, and Eadweard Muybridge.

Thank you especially to our MVPs—Many Valuable Players—who have helped the project evolve.

Special thanks to Dan Ingalls and HARC / Y Combinator Research.