Dekko, a San Francisco-based startup that just closed extra funding to build a platform for augmented reality apps, just brought its first title to market with a racing game that has players drive virtual cars across tabletops.
OK, so augmented reality, which overlays virtual items or information over the real world through a phone or tablet’s viewfinder, hasn’t really come into its own yet. There have been plenty of companies like Layar, which built one of the very early augmented reality browsers for the iPhone, which have been around for a few years.
That’s partially because the user experience is still a bit unwieldy with people having to take their phones or iPads out and pan their built-in cameras around. But it’s possible that Google Glass could change all of this.
Dekko, which recently took an additional $1.3 million in funding, is betting that augmented reality’s moment could be around the corner. Other startups are making this bet as well; another company Daqri just picked up $15 million in a Series A round for augmented reality as well.
“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,” said co-founder and CEO Matt Miesnieks. “We wanted to build an experience that is kind of magical.”
The game, which you can demo below, has players hold up their iPads over a table. On the screen, you can see cars racing across a virtual track. It can turn any kind of flat surface into racetrack that’s visible on the iPad. The app is also multiplayer, allowing between one and four people to race each other, do stunts and crash into each other’s cars. The multiplayer mode can show a single, real-time shared view.
To me, it sounds like a proof of concept that demonstrates Dekko’s platform, which was built by the startup’s in-house team of computer vision experts. Eventually, they’ll bring their platform to wearables like Google Glass.
“One thing we know about Glass is that our tech will work on it,” Miesnieks said.
Dekko’s backers include Echo Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Venture 51, Blumberg Capital, Launch Capital, Thomvest, Eniac Ventures, and Zig Capital, as well as angels like Howard Lindzon, Erik Moore, Dan Conway, and Raymond Tonsing.