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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Thursday, 2 May, 2002, 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK
Table ice hockey prepares for launch
PlayPuck table ice hockey game, BBC
Chrome-plated players do battle under glass
test hello test
By Ivan Noble
BBC News Online science staff, Geneva
Table football is a familiar sight in many European bars but players of table ice hockey machines are hard to find.

"About 16 or 17 years ago, a company brought out an electronic version but it kept going wrong, had the wrong shape of pitch and had dead zones from where you couldn't hit the puck," explained Swiss inventor J B Sutter.

"They had to take it off the market in the end," he told BBC News Online.

But Mr Sutter has now come up with his own version which he is showing off at the Geneva International Exhibition of Inventions.

In his literature, Mr Sutter proudly boasts that his idea "is the first tournament-ready professional table hockey game that is true to the original - an absolute world first".

Twist and flip

The machine has drawn much interest here at the Geneva fair, which opened on Wednesday.

PlayPuck table ice hockey game, BBC
Interest in the game at the Geneva show is high
Four players control the movement of chrome-plated ice hockey figures across a white rink.

The handles are at either end of the rink, rather than at the side.

Pushing and pulling moves the figures around, while twisting flips the hockey sticks.

"We're ready to launch it here is Switzerland in a couple of weeks but we're looking for distributors elsewhere," Mr Sutter said.

Real impact

Another entertainment product looking for commercial backing at the Geneva show is the Simtech motion simulator.

It is modelled upon the multi-million dollar simulators used to train fighter pilots, yet its inventor says it could be produced for under a thousand pounds.

It is designed to house a conventional PC and to work with existing simulation software, adding to the effect of the game by moving the player around in time with the game action.

The inventor, Colin Cartwright, is particularly proud of its performance with driving games.

He says the simulator is capable of reproducing the effects of acceleration, cornering, braking, loss of traction, and even impact.

The machine is sensitive enough to reproduce the difference in road feel between different models of cars, he says.

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