Why it is still important to have physical toys to play with?

Why it is still important to have physical toys to play with when virtual video games are so good already?

No doubt video games have exceeded people’s expectations over the last decades. The quality of the graphics has increased exponentially since the early days. Does that mean people’s gaming experience has also grown exponentially as well? Not quite right? Why is that? If you think about the first popular video games like “Mario” and “Street Fighter,” compared to what we have today, the graphics have improved, but are the games way more fun? Sure there is a correlation between better graphics and a better experience, but they may not track 1 to 1. This made us think: How can we make games that don’t use graphics as the main metric for improvement of fun? Other than graphics booming, it doesn’t seem like the variety of the games has expanded much since video games were introduced in the 80s. 

So how do humans normally play before video games were invented? Young children mostly just go out with other friends. The fun and memorable experiences and moments were not just limited to the game itself: the environment, friends, interactive eye, hand, and body movement, and imagination also played a big part in household “play” activities. 

Because the video games’ graphics are so good, it might limit what we can imagine. Because most video games are sedentary, the eye-hand coordination is almost completely missing. This is where we come in. We know people need to have fun with friends in person. We know people need to move around without heavy equipment or wires with today's VR/AR headsets. People should be able to play in the house or outdoors - how nature intended us to play. 

When I was a kid, I always wanted to play games face-to-face with my friends. My favorites were AirSoft, Paintball, and board games. I craved human interaction and competition. But they weren’t always around. I wished my robot toys like Furby could have played Airsoft or board games with me when my friends were not around. But the toys weren’t capable of doing so back then, and not even today (before Juuk). When will we have smart hardware at a low cost? Even if we have good hardware, why would we neglect the world around us? Something must be missing right? 

We don’t have to choose between the virtual world or the real world. Having the best of both worlds is the ideal situation. And that's what we’re doing. Using smart hardware to build the link between the virtual and real world. There is something magical about an item that you can physically hold, and use in the real world, yet is enhanced with digital characters. We accomplish this by leveraging the computing power of the phone, and focusing on building fun game applications that are intuitive, interactive and fun. 

Augmented reality game development breakthrough

Our latest hardcore AR developer, Kenny Bier, has begun building out our latest game powered by Juuk’s Smart AR Gun/Blaster. Unity developed an awesome free asset pack that included these really cute zombies! We can’t wait to bring these cute creatures into your home!

We are building out one player, and multi-player, and Jukibot/Juuk robot integrated zombie wave game! Soon you will be able to compare scores and even play co-op with your friends! This is going to be like Crimsonland in real life! Imagine once our smart robot plays these games with you as your companion in co-op AR mode.

Just mount your phone on Juuk’s Smart AR Blaster and blast away! Using computer vision, these cuddly creatures will spawn out of your floor, wall, and ceiling. Run away, but don’t forget where they came from, because they might be behind you!

Juuk’s AR Blasting Progress Example

Juuk’s AR Blasting Progress Example

What's Juuk's core technology?

Computer vision turns a camera into a sensor by analyzing images and videos through pixels. We extract information like movement, human faces, objects, etc. through the use of our computer vision software.

It is now widely used in the surveillance industry to detect human figures and give people time to react. Companies like Athena Security use this software to detect weapon shape such as guns. This ensures that the security team can react faster and potentially stop mass shootings.

With the development of inexpensive camera sensors, the toy industry can adopt this technology as well. Toys have been associated as “deposable”, “stupid” and to “come and go fast”. Before the development of more cost effective sensors, industries worried that these “smart” sensors would be too expensive. Likely it would take many engineers to constantly update the software even after the purchase is complete.

We want to change that.

We don’t want toys to be disposable, we don't want our money to be disposable. We want our product to last, to have the capability to do the unimaginable. We want our product to become an emotional attachment of sorts, a companion to children. We want toys like “Furbies” to do way more than repeating what was programmed before it was made.

With the computer vision powered camera, our robot will always be able to see the movement of the players, and avoid the obstacles. Just seeing the object isn’t enough.

We run our computer vision program on the phone and communicate the device with WIFI. Therefore, we have to be smart with our algorithm and make the commutation smooth, in other words, without noticeable lagging. Again, thanks to the development of technology, now almost everyone has a "smart" phone. This makes it easily accessible and understandable for children and adults to enjoy our product, anywhere!

Juuk’s software stack illustration, artwork by freepik.

Juuk’s software stack illustration, artwork by freepik.

Augmented reality games have never been this easy and fun

AR games have been a trend for a while now.  Though some AR games (e.g. Pokemon Go) have become popular, graphics based and immersive AR struggle to bring a solution that is fun and easy to set up (and lightweight). Headsets are too expensive for most people, so the core audience has been tech enthusiasts.

We want to make a change. We want to introduce the fun experience to more people without breaking the bank. By leveraging the phone and low cost semi-immersive hardware, we are able to create compelling graphic based AR games at a very low cost.

Imagine! You can play with a real life moving object (Jukibot The laser tag robot we built last year), it is the boss that we can see in real life! You can see the object through our phone App easily(mounting your phone on our laser tag AR toy blaster). Now imagine our robot is generating cute graphic zombies on your phone that appear like they are coming from our real-life robot. This is a real-life immersion experience!

Take a peek at the games we're building. 

With our App you can identify the location of Jukibot through the camera. The laser tag blaster location is accurate in the game map as well. You are fighting zombies in your house using our toy blaster that has the phone on top of it. 

We can’t wait to release this game and share it with you! 

AR game development demo

AR game development demo