Immersive technology specialists Draw & Code have been announced as one of the first development partners for Merge VR’s forthcoming Merge Cube. This deceptively simple piece of hardware allows users to interact with holograms that are held in their hands and is poised to offer a totally new take on augmented reality (AR).
Merge VR are already frontrunners in immersive hardware having created one of the leading mobile virtual reality (VR) headsets—the Merge VR Goggles. Now they are leveraging this knowhow to create the Merge Cube – the world’s first interactive, holographic toy that is held by the user. Like their goggles, the Merge Cube is focused on children and young adults as they attempt to open up this technology to a new audience.
Now Merge are assembling content creators to help bring their vision to life. The tactile toy that holds the key to multiple handheld digital experiences is a whole new challenge for developers as they are invited to present games and educational content in a unique way.. In this regard Draw & Code are unusually well qualified to develop for Merge Cube as they already have a product that uses a similar principle of overlaying digital content onto a cuboid toy.
The team at Draw & Code are experienced in creating augmented reality experiences from physical objects having developed SwapBots – a toy and game that uses AR to create the illusion that the characters in the video game have escaped from the screen. This ambitious new concept in toys has recently hit its funding target on Kickstarter and is now gearing up for a release later in the year.
“As soon as we encountered Merge VR and their vision to open up immersive technology to a younger audience we were inspired,” says John Keefe, Draw & Code co-founder, “Now the Merge Cube is quite literally putting this exciting tech into the hands of the next generation.”
Draw & Code recently featured as key players in industry experts Super Ventures’ AR Landscape. This report was published via Venture Beat and saw the team behind SwapBots named as one of the companies to watch in this burgeoning space.
“Holding a hologram in your hand can be a profound experience,” said Merge VR founder Franklin Lyons. “We’re merging the physical and the digital in a natural, intuitive way. The Merge Cube comes to life in your hands, and the possibilities of what it can be are limitless. This is a really exciting opportunity for developers to create entirely new experiences.”
Merge VR’s Merge Cube presents a unique opportunity for developers to create experiences that transcend the screen. The combination of the head-mounted smartphone and the simple yet appealing Merge Cube means that the futuristic concept of holding a computer-generated world in our hands is already here.
Andy Cooper, Draw & Code co-founder, says, “The team at Draw & Code are relishing the chance to develop for the Merge Cube as it is a compelling way to deliver digital content associated with a physical object; the scope for playful, tactile experiences is so exciting and uniquely suited to our studio’s abilities.”
The first fruits of the collaboration between Merge VR and development partners such as Draw & Code will be seen over the summer as the Merge Cube heads towards launch. What can we expect from these experiences?
“Kids will be able to learn, play, and explore in entirely new ways. From games to puzzles to learning adventures, the Merge Cube and the apps built for it open a new world of holographic play,” said Lyons. “The Draw & Code team is on the forefront of creating amazing AR experiences—we’re happy and excited to be working with them to bring these new forms of play to people around the world.”
Expect to see several concepts revealed by Merge and Draw & Code during 2017 that explore this new concept in tactile, immersive video games.