Thursday, 13 June 2013

Dekko Tabletop Speed Augmented Reality Racing Game

Tabletop Speed is a new augmented reality car racing game from Dekko.

Kids use a smart device as a controller and to give an augmented view of the racetrack you have created from physical objects such as books, boxes and toys. As you play you can see virtual racecars whizzing around your coffee table!

Tabletop Speed is currently available as a free iOS app from iTunes. Android and Google Glass versions are coming soon. If you have multiple devices then you can play multi-player Tabletop Speed.

If you look at this at face value, it's a fun kids racing game that can be played with stuff you already have and which encourages kids to play in the real world rather than just sitting on the sofa with a controller or tablet it their hands. It's rated for kids aged 4+ but will probably be more interesting for slightly older kids and tweens.

But the technology here is interesting. Most augmented reality technology relies physical objects that the software knows about (via RFID or visual recognition.) This is different, the TableTop Speed game uses technology to scan and map out a virtual version of the physical world in front of it. This is why you can use ordinary objects to create a race track.

We've used augmented reality technology a few times including at museum exhibits. It's fun, but you're very much aware that the action is taking place on a tablet or phone rather than in the room. It's engaging, but it's also clear that this is just the start.

The mention of a Google Glass version coming soon is very interesting. Google Glass will enable much more immersive experiences. Initially Google Glass won't be available for children under 13 but this may change over time as the technology develops.

Dekko, the maker of Tabletop Speed plans to use their augmented reality tech to develop applications for the "wearable computing generation." Interesting stuff and an indication of how technology will be changing as the kids of today grow up. Watch the included video interview to learn more about the technology and where it's headed.

So, a fun AR game for kids to play, but also a good discussion point about where games and wearable tech are headed.

Download: TableTop Speed App for iOS

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