In the realm of Augmented Reality (AR) games, several titles can come to mind: Pokémon Go, the upcoming Wizards Unite, and Ingress (from Niantic Labs), Jurassic World Alive (from Ludia), Geocaching (from Groundspeak Inc.), and many more. Most of these take full advantage of what is currently available in terms of AR for mobile devices, but one company is on the verge of contributing a device that will enable AR games developers to push the limit one step further: LITHO.
LITHO is a company made of two great young minds, Nat Martin and Charlie Bruce (who is also known for leading the hardware and firmware development of Beeline, a bicycle/motorcycle safe and smart navigation device). The company is based in the United Kingdom and has recently opened the Beta for LITHO to developers through Unity SDK!
What is the LITHO device?
LITHO is a finger-worn controller that acts as a medium for interactions in the real word connected to any AR applications or games for your mobile device. As they describe it themselves, LITHO “unlocks the potential of real world interactions allowing developers to create more dynamic, intuitive and precise mobile AR applications than previously possible.” LITHO works with Unity SDK that provides developers with ready-made real world interactions. It supports every major AR framework: ARKit (iOS), ARCore (Android), Microsoft HoloLens, and more.
Furthermore, LITHO can also connect with your smart technology at home. With your phone in your pocket, you can dim the lights, increase the temperature in the room, and more!
The controller connects via Bluetooth to smartphones and AR headsets. It has a touch surface on the underside, an array of motion sensors and provides haptic feedback (in the same way as smartphones do nowadays).
How does LITHO connect to AR mobile games?
This device would allow players to immerse themselves into the game they play and provide an incredible gaming experience for any mobile gamers. The most amazing part is how it would do all of this in the real world unlike console or computer VR games currently available. Playing an AR game on your smartphone would indeed become a similar experience as to playing an Virtual Reality (VR) game at your favorite VR entertainment centre (if you have not yet tried it, now’s the time); however it would allow to do so in the world we live rather than your office or living room.
In Pokémon Go, players could literally throw a Pokéball to catch their favorite Pokémon, or feed berries to Pokémon in AR mode and literally experience what it would be like to do so in the real world.
In the upcoming Wizards Unity mobile game by Niantic Labs (where we see the biggest potential for LITHO), players could literally cast spell, care for any of the magical creatures of the wizarding world, make potions, etc. Can you imagine actually training to become a wizard like Harry Potter or Hermione Granger? Caring for magical creatures like Hagrid?
The main appeal of such AR mobile games is how it interacts with the real word. We firmly believe that developers of these games should consider investing in this technology. Doing so would not only allow them to get the upper hand in the gaming world (in relations to console or computer gaming) and greatly improve the players’ experience!
In short, LITHO would allow, as stated earlier, for players to immerse themselves into the game they love in the real world, which one cannot do through VR entertainment centres or VR computer/console games at home (although they do a fine job at replicating the real world).
Asking Pokémon Go players around us what they loved about the game, the main element that came up were the interactions with the real world. Anyone can play Pokémon at home, but playing it in your favorite park, under the Eiffel Tower, at the top of a mountain, or in your garden makes for an incredible experience. LITHO would allow these real world interactions to go one-step further; and the idea of that becoming a possibility gives us goosebumps!
Of course, a combination of LITHO and Google Glass, which sadly came too early, would simply even make for a better experience, but who knows. We clearly are not at the end of the development in AR technology!
What are your thoughts? Would you be excited to see this technology connect with your favorite AR mobile games? Let us know down below!