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Aidan and I play ping pong on the floor almost every time we see each other on the floor. We have been playing it since the first semester of our freshman year. We got paired to make a switch together, the idea of using a ping pong ball or table as a switch instantly comes to mind. After we talked, we quickly decided to try building a ping pong paddle switch 🏓! Our current all-time score is 68-67, with Aidan holding the slight edge in the series.


Aidan and I met on Saturday morning. We gathered some copper tapes, ping pong paddles, coin batteries, LED lights, and tools. I got some EL wires, unfortunately, they did not work when we tried to use them so we starts with just one LED.

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First Sketch

Aidan made the sketches with the patterns we think it could trigger by hitting a ball. Every other strip of copper tape is the same, alternating between positive and negative.

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Second Sketch

We thought we could put the coin battery down to the paddle handles. It turned out it would not work if we tried to have the light. If the ball were to hit below the light and above the battery, the circuit would eliminate everything above the ball, so in this drawing, the light wouldn't turn on.

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Paddle Schematic

We realized that we have to have the battery close to the LED so that the LED would be in a close circuit.


We tried few different prototypes.


Prototype #1

We originally tried using a coin battery and very thin strips of copper tape to trigger a small LED light but came to the conclusion that the tape wasn't good enough to carry the power throughout the entire paddle to power the light.



Prototype #2



Prototype #3