TECH in AMERICA (TiA)

SHARING AMERICA'S TECH NEWS FROM THE VALLEY TO THE ALLEY

Video: Robotic gaming enters the real world with the debut of Anki

Anki[1]

by Colin Druce-McFadden, courtesy dvice

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It’s been a big week for gaming, and it seems that everyone under the sun has an idea of where gaming is going in the future. From Oculus Rift HD to the PS4 to Google’s Chrome ‘experiments’, gaming seems to be headed in all manner of directions at once. But one little company has their own vision of gaming’s future — and it’s anything but virtual.

During Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June, CEO Tim Cook took a moment to personally introduce a little company called Anki. The hows and whys of such an epic debut for an unknown startup were answered moments later when Anki Co-Founder rolled out the company’s debut product — literally.

Sofman took the stage, unfurled a mat and began placing cars upon it, which immediately began driving around a track printed onto the mat. The impression was that of R/C cars — a pretty old concept. But these were no 1980s-era toys. Instead of being remote-controlled, these cars were robots — acting on programming and making decisions on how to navigate the track on their own.

Sofman then introduced the “hero” of the game to the track — a candy apple-colored car with a lot more speed. The original three racers were getting smoked! And that’s where the gaming aspect of this little robot-populated racetrack came in. Via an iOS app, players can send commands to their vehicles — “Gang up on the guy in the fast car,” for instance.

Racing cars around a track is, admittedly, a pretty basic concept. But to leave steering and the gas pedal to robots, only making decisions based on driver intention yourself, is pretty amazing. And with an easy iOS interface, setting up robotic real-world games can be done in a snap. We expect great things from Anki in the future (after an intro by Tim Cook, who wouldn’t?). The company has, after all, raised over $50 million from investors already. Watch Anki’s debut and inaugural race as it happened in the video below. Then tell us what you think about robotic gaming and its place in our future.

Thank you, TiA

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