Stephen Fry Demonstrates Pool Playing Tech Created at Queen’s

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Two local students recently had the unique opportunity of demonstrating pool-playing technology developed at Queen’s University in Kingston.

Salar Awan and Kevin Hughes – both Engineering and Applied Science graduate students at Queen’s – traveled to London in October to demonstrate ARPool to Stephen Fry and Jeremy Clarkson for their show “Stephen Fry: Gadget Man”.

Fry is a respected actor and writer, while Clarkson is well-known to British viewers as the host of BBC’s popular Top Gear.

“I have given demonstrations at conferences before, but traveling to London and meeting celebrities is one of the most interesting things I have done at Queen’s.” said Awan, in a University release.

The segment, filmed in a London pub, aired on Britain’s Channel 4 on December 10. Awan and Hughes did not appear in the show, but set up the demonstration and taught the celebrities how to use ARPool.

“I’m not too disappointed about not being on the show,” Hughes said. “I was just excited to go to London and get my picture taken with Stephen Fry and Jeremy Clarkson. They both seemed to enjoy ARPool.”

The two Queen’s students also remarked that they were surprised to see how many hours the crew worked for the segment, which is only a few minutes long.


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ARPool uses cameras and software to calculate the best shot available, then projects the plan for that shot on to the pool table. The software works out entire strategies for games as well as planning individual moves.

This is not the first time ARPool, pronounced “Air Pool”, has been featured across the pond.

It was also profiled on The Gadget Show in 2010 when The host of the Channel 5 show used the pool-playing technology to beat three time world champion pool player Gareth Potts. (video embedded below)

Last night’s “Stephen Fry: Gadget Man” episode is summarized as: “This time Stephen looks at how gadgets entertain us. There’s a remote-controlled pet, an automatic cocktail-maker and a futuristic pool-table machine that lines up your shots for you.”

Unfortunately, the episode (Season 1, Episode 4) is not available for viewing to Canadian internet users, but can be watched by UK users on the Channel 4 website.

2010 appearance of Queen’s University’s ARPool on Channel 5’s “The Gadget Show” (or watch it on Youtube).

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Photos source: Queen’s University News Centre

Photo 1: “British actor Stephen Fry (left) and Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson play a game of pool using ARPool technology

Photo 2: “Jeremy Clarkson, Kevin Hughes, Stephen Fry and Salar Awan meet in London to demonstrate ARPool