It’s probably no secret that most product managers think augmented reality is a clever idea, but one marred by an overly clunky user interface; it’s been around for a while but its day just hasn’t really come. One San Francisco startup, though, may be bringing that day forward rapidly with its excitingly addictive racing game, replete with virtual cars zooming around tabletops.
Conventional wisdom amongst many product managers in the tech industry is that augmented reality is currently just a tad too cumbersome to catch on in a big way. To get that virtual item overlaid on a real world scene, you have to get your smartphone or tablet out and pan those cameras around until it looks right through the device’s viewfinder. But as Google Glass draws closer, that could all be about to change.
Dekko, for one, is a company that thinks that virtual reality’s Big Day is just around the corner. Skeptical product managers might like to know that it’s just scooped an additional $1.3million in funding on top of the $1.9million it raised last Fall. And it’s not alone in taking this bullishly optimistic view – investors seem to think something’s in the air and are willing to plough their dollars in: virtual reality firm Daqri, for example, recently raised $15 million in Series A.
Dekko’s co-founder and CEO, Matt Miesnieks, explains:
“We wanted to solve many of the basic user problems with augmented reality. We had a compulsion to at least show something that’s real and fun. We wanted to build an experience that is kind of magical.”
The Big Day just got closer
If ever there was an effective proof of concept, Dekko’s new “Tabletop Speed” offering is it. Players hold their iPads over a table top and the screen converts it into a racing circuit, with virtual cars careering around and flying off ramps made of a kid’s story book leaning against a box of tissues.
The app is also multiplayer enabled, so up to four players can vie for bragging rights over the best stunt (or the best crash).
Already in the pipeline is a plan to bring the Dekko platform to new-generation wearables like Google Glass.
As Miesnieks puts it:
“One thing we know about Glass is that our tech will work on it.”