Bowling Lanes Go Experiential With Projection-Mapped Lanes And Real-Time Ball Tracking

October 15, 2021 by Dave Haynes

This is not digital signage, but the tech applied and the underlying software applications are very similar.

A company based in Orlando has started delivering a product and service called Unreal Bowling, which uses projection mapping to light up the lanes in bowling alleys with interactive content experiences and breathe new life into a decades-old leisure pursuit.

Just as Top Golf has wildly switched up how a golf driving range might work, the idea here is to use digital to attract younger audiences to bowling alleys. The pro AV firm Crunchy Technology came up with a  concept that uses overhead projectors, custom software, infrared lighting and real time object tracking technology to create an experience that works the same as the bowling lanes of the sports ’50s and ’60s heydays, but brings it well into this century.

Players can use a QR code to launch a smartphone app that controls the look and feel of a specific lane, and object tracking adds real-time special effects. The scheduling engine in the promo video suggests the same sorts of concepts used in digital signage.

The website suggests the company has installed about 15 venues to date, though the website also looks like it could be updated. Crunchy has partnered with Optoma on projectors.

The idea of re-booting the bowling alley format so it doesn’t looked trapped in the 1970s is not new. There are hipster-ish bowling alleys/nightclubs/event venues in places like New York City that have bars and use a lot of technology, but mainly in the form of screens above the pins and mood lighting. This place in Brooklyn has live bands.

But I am not sure I have seen one that has gone to the degree of projection mapping the lanes and making that customizable lane by lane. Pretty clever.

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