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Interactive Annual 17:

CueLight: Interactive Pool Table System

Launch Movie

“A very creative use of video and impressive motion tracking implementation.” —Véronique Brossier

“A delightful and innovative addition to a classic game that’s guaranteed to draw eyes.” —Adrian Belina

Overview: The game of billiards has remained relatively unchanged since the late 1700s when it was adapted from a wooden table to slate, and from ivory cue balls to resin. Billiards professionals, enthusiasts and novices alike enjoy many aspects of the game, from the challenge of its physics and geometry, to the social, competitive and pure fun of it. The developers of this project saw the surface of the pool table as a canvas, a place to develop and hone precise object-tracking projection capabilities and add a new and exciting edge to the age-old game of pool. This one-of-a kind projection, sensor and tracking system turns a game of pool into an interactive art display, in which images and animations “follow” the movements of the pool balls as players hit them around the table.

  • • Customized content can be designed to create any type of experience from relaxing to over-the-top.
  • • A high-definition projector, mounted above any standard pool table, and the proprietary Obscura FireFrames system, projects motion graphics precisely mapped to the table top, bunkers and pockets. As cue balls roll across the table, the projected graphics react to their movement in real-time.
  • • The system has three standard settings: “Mercury,” where the surface of the table appears as a thin layer of liquid mercury and the cue ball causes a rippling wake as it rolls across it; “Inferno,” which causes bursts of smoky fire to pour from behind the cue balls; and “Reveal,” which consists of a murky layer of water resting over any custom image until a ball or cue stick moves, revealing the image hidden beneath it.

Comments by Steve Mason

What’s the intended use for this system? “The first installation of a CueLight system was in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s newly constructed Paradise Tower high-roller suite in the summer of 2009. The likes of Eminem and Sean Puffy Combs have been entertained playing billiards on the hotel’s CueLight table, where the underlying reveal image (which the hotel can change from time to time or on special request) is a scantily clad model. The second CueLight installation was for Esquire House in SoHo during winter 2009-2010. The reveal graphic was changed depending on the party sponsor’s request and was the biggest draw of the entire penthouse apartment. Most recently CueLight was set up at the 2010 Monaco Yacht Show in Monte Carlo to entertain and delight the world’s premier captains and owners.”

What was the most satisfying aspect of the project? “The response was an extremely positive one for Born and Adobe-and for Belle & Wissell. This project has allowed Born’s rich archive of projects from the past fourteen years to find new audiences and garner new interest and energy. It’s also given Adobe a compelling example of how their software can be utilized to create rich experiences that go beyond traditional expectations of print.”


Travis Threlkel, chief creative officer
Steve Mason, senior developer
Michael Harville/Niklas Lundback, technology directors
Obscura Digital (San Francisco, CA), project design and development
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, Paradise Tower Penthouse, client

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