Updated: May 23, 2019
Tilt Five is designing a tabletop AR platform aimed at mixing traditional board games with the advantages of augmented reality. This week the company unveiled a glimpse of what users can anticipate from the system.
Though the company is still holding much under blankets. Tilt Five appears to be the restoration of CastAR (which itself was initially spun out of Valve) which reportedly closed down in 2017 before it was capable of getting its AR system to market. In addition to sharing Jeri Ellsworth, near as we can determine, Tilt Five is using the same approach as CastAR, though this time the company seems especially focused on tackling tabletop gaming rather than creating a broader AR system.
Though glasses are required, the system doesn’t use a regular lens & display setup as you’d anticipate from other AR headsets. Alternatively the headset hides a little projector which transmits the image onto a retroreflective pad that rests on the tabletop, effectively adapting the pad into the display. The dots throughout the pad seen up by cameras on the headset and used to learn its position, which allows the projected picture to update in real time according to the actions of the user.
One feature of the retroreflective surface is that the light from the projector recoils straight back to the user, while others nearby are unable to see the image. That implies that a single pad can be used to give perspective-correct views to multiple players (you can think of it like a 3D display which provides each user the correct view based on their position).
Tilt Five intends to use the tech as a platform for amped-up board games which won’t be limited by cardboard cutouts, cards, and plastic figures.
It isn’t clear yet precisely which device would actually execute the game world, or how headsets will interact between each other for multiplayer games, but the company’s site presently states that the glasses will support Windows 10 and “select Android devices” at launch.
As for now, there are no details on when Tilt Five will launch or at what price, though the company says they’ll have more to share this Summer. Presently Tilt Five looks to be trying to build curiosity with developers to start experimenting with building content for the platform.