How would you like to play against robots, aliens, and ghosts that appear in your living room? ARDRoid promises to use mixed reality and augmented reality to turn your living room into a playground.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Squirrel Robotics hasn’t said much about the ARDroid, so I’m only guessing based on the demo they showed. From the demo, it appears that ARDroid is a robot equipped with several cameras that can map a room in 3D. After scanning the room, the system can generate virtual objects that you can see either on a phone (similar to AR games such as Pokemon Go) or with a VR headset such as Meta Quest 2. As you move around in the game, the ARDroid moves as well to continue mapping the space as needed. ARDRoid also showed the screen being mirrored to a TV so that everyone can see your view.
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE?
Is this technology real? Yes, I believe it is definitely doable with currently available technology. The Meta Quest, for example, has four cameras that analyze your surroundings using computer vision. If you add wheels to the ARDroid then it should be able to do what it claims to do. Meta Quest also has realtime mirroring capability, so that, too is possible.
Having said that, Meta has invested billions (13.7 billion in 2022 alone) to develop Quest. I don’t know who are the investors in Squirrel Robotics but I don’t know if they have the resources to give the ARDroid capabilities similar to the Meta Quest.
It appears that ARDroid will be launching on Kickstarter. As with other crowdfunding campaigns, they are not like ordering a product. If you order a product and the seller doesn’t send the product, you can file a complaint with your credit card and get a refund. With crowdfunding, you’re not “ordering” the product. Rather, you’re sending money to them and they “hope” to send you a product in exchange. But many crowdfunding campaigns fail, and when they do, you generally don’t get a refund.
Crowdfunding campaigns have a good chance of success if they are simple products, or are from an established company, especially one who has had previous success with crowdfunding. ARDroid is an advanced product and it’s being offered by a company with no track record. Hopefully, they can show an actual working product, not just a CG demo. For now, if you really want the ARDroid, a safer alternative would be to wait for the actual retail product even if it costs more.
If you are interested in mixed reality games, check out the Meta Quest 3 (previewed here).