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Augmented Reality Turns Kitchen Table Into Game Terrain

Virtual race game in the physical setting of your home allows for books and cereal bowls to become obstacles.

Keerthana Jagadeesh
Keerthana Jagadeesh on June 13, 2013.

Dekko, San Francisco based tech startup, is focused on exploring the endless possibilities of augmented reality in its new Tabletop Speed game that allows users to play a racing game on table surfaces using iPhones and iPads.

So far, augmented reality apps and games have been gimmicky stories living their 15 minutes of fame since every company from the magazine industry to the childcare industry have utilized AR apps in their marketing. But Dekko’s mission seems to be bigger than a one hit gimmicky game. Dekko’s CEO Matt Miesnieks says,

What we’re trying to do is build some of those enablers to get to the next stage of more natural visual interaction. Instead of an ugly map hanging in front of your face, they’ll naturally render that navigation on the sidewalk for example.


Dekko’s attempt to fully develop the capabilities of 3D mapping is seen in the video for their much anticipated game. The game’s trailer shows virtual race tracks appear on any kind of flat surface that the iPad is pointed at while the natural physical environment of the table is maintained. This kind of 3D mapping that uses the real world as an operating system is where the gold of AR resides. Google’s Glass is an attempt to apply AR to the 3D world of reality but there are several big companies like Apple and Facebook who want to be the first to build the virtual experience that is rooted in the physical environment of the user’s present. The datasets for this kind of 3D mapping is still being researched and tested and it might be a while before we see functional, reality based applications of AR.

Dekko seems set to offer the first glimpse into the possibilities of 3D mapping but it is yet to be seen if the game lives up to the hype of AR.

Dekko

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