A San Francisco start-up has launched a real-world operating system that it hopes will soon serve as a visual layer for wearable computing devices such as Google Glass.
is an augmented reality-focused studio that says it can provide video game developers with an entirely new platform for creating game experiences that are layered on your real-world surroundings.
The Dekko OS utilizes cameras in smartphones, but also wearable computing devices such as Google Glass, to reconstruct the environment and track content around you in real-time.
With this technology, Dekko says developers have the potential to create games that can use your living room, your bedroom, your workspace or wherever else you desire in a variety of neat ways.
For example, a digital RC car would be able to bump into your walls and jump off your desk; Or perhaps you could build a real tower defense game out of real-world items, then watch as enemies march through your make-shift fortifications.
Dekko's co-founder and CEO Matt Miesnieks told me that he's been considering how a number of video game classics could work with his OS too. There's the potential to play Frogger
on a real freeway, for example, or head down to your local skatepark and flip some tricks as a digital Tony Hawk
Miesnieks has plenty of ideas for the technology when it comes to gamification too. A running app that utilizes the Dekko OS could potentially have you racing against a ghost runner, or escaping from a monster that is chasing you. Tourism is another industry that Dekko is aiming at, and he says that the OS has huge potential for social networking.
Won't it be gimmicky?
Dekko is more than aware that other company's have already attempted to bring AR technology to the forefront, especially in video games, but Miesnieks says that his company's real-world mapping tech sets his efforts apart from the rest.
By the time the technology is released, the aim is to provide the OS with the capability to map surrounding rooms, streets and wherever else you choose to go in full 3D, and use this information to potentially reconstruct surroundings to suit each particular app.
"If a physical marker/image is needed to use the app, no one will use it twice," explains Miesnieks. "Dekko works anywhere that your camera can see something."
"The content needs to be truly in the world, not floating on the screen," he continues. "Dekko's 3D tracking and reconstruction allows game content to truly be part of the 3D world with occlusion & collisions between digital content and real structures."
Previous AR game attempts have often suffered from poor game design, mainly due to the limitations of the AR technology in use, and misunderstandings about what exactly can be done with games and AR tech.
Dekko says it has solved this by working directly with developers to support great game design, rather than handing out an SDK and hoping that someone manages to solve the potential problems.
Clearly someone out there has faith in the tech, as Dekko has secured $3.2 million in funding for the project. The company says it "is currently in talks with the top three tier-one hardware manufacturers."
Those developers interested in getting involved should visit the Dekko website