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San Francisco startup Dekko launches ‘magical’ virtual reality racing game

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.

Mag­i­cal fun

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.”

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