AR Gaming startup Reach Robotics will have their MekaMon gaming robot available exclusively through Apple retail today through its online store and then in Apple Stores throughout the US and UK beginning tomorrow starting at $299.99.
This is a huge breakthrough for the four-year-old British startup as Apple limits its selection of pre-Christmas promotions each year to just a handful of products and services that its executives are excited about.
“The moment the leadership team saw the product, we just clicked with them; it seemed to really align with what they’re interested in and focused on right now,” says Reach CEO Silas Adekunle.
The deal with Apple has the potential to be game-changing for the Bristol-based startup.
The synergy with Apple derives from MekaMon providing a use case from creating battlefields for its real-world robot, which is in-sync with Apple’s aggressive push with ARKit and depth-sensing cameras.
MekaMon, ‘the world’s first real-life gaming robot,’ represents a quantum leap forward for AR gaming leveraging of augmented reality. It is a four-legged spider-shaped real-life robot that melds real-world gameplay with augmented reality.
Measuring in at 11.8in x 11.8in x 5.9in, the robot is designed to let players battle their robots in both the physical and virtual worlds using iOS and Android devices. MekaMon, which has already won rave reviews from testers and technology sector critics, adopts the iPhone's camera and infrared sensors for what Reach Robotics calls ‘precision gameplay.’
It uses infrared signals to connect while users connect over Bluetooth with their phones to battle against each other or participate in arcade and cooperative gameplay.
Gamers have the choice of playing with their MekaMon robots either in the real world or using augmented reality. Once a battle is engaged, MekaMon can move around and use objects in the room like tables, chairs, and more to block attackers.
With Swift Playgrounds compatibility, users can control their robots using Swift code. Users can also learn to code using the robots as a platform, customizing movement, animations, and features.
The development of the robot, which took four years, was buoyed by a limited production run of the MekaMon last year, which saw the company sell 500 robots.
That enabled Reach’s team to incorporate user feedback into the product and also helped convince investors to back the company with a $7.5million round by Korea Investment Partners and IGlobe Partner.
The capital paved the way for the AR gaming company to put properly put manufacturing and supply chain arrangements in place capable of meeting the likely levels of demand that the Apple partnership will bring from the commercial roll-out.
Reach’s founders say they are committed to developing the robot as a platform in its own right, with users getting access to a broader range of games over time.
By combining robotics, gaming, and AR, Reach Robotics is creating the next gaming platform. The company was founded in 2013 by John Rees, Silas Adekunle, Chris Beck, Arnaud Didey, John Rees.