Using advanced computer vision and specialized optics to track your movements, Rescape lets you digitize the real world, pull any canvas you want over it, and then have you and your friends blow it to pieces! It actually lets you move around physically within a game, mimicking your and your friend’s movements in the real world. Since there isn’t really a name or genre for it already, we chose to simply call this mix of real and virtual reality gaming - Reality Gaming.
Rescape is like no gaming experience you’ve ever had – guaranteed.
Rescape is a hardware game controller and software for your smartphone which turns it into a reality gaming platform. Rescape puts players physically in the game – running, shooting and screaming. All your senses tell the same story, bringing a whole new level of immersion to mobile gaming.
The Rescape SDK, specifically developed for the Rescape hardware’s special optics, maps your environment and tracks your movements in the real world with centimeter accuracy, enabling you to physically walk around in virtual worlds that map 1:1 to your real environment. See and hear the world around you like you’ve never seen or heard it before through the screen and earbuds of your iPhone.
Game controller with smartphone mount
The Rescape game controller is optimized for FPS gaming, with a trigger, a directional pad and a smartphone mount containing the specialized optics. The controller is resizable to accommodate different arm lengths and preferences, and the shoulder stock can even be removed completely.
Rescape computer vision technology and SDK
Using a technique called SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) pioneered by NASA and previously used mainly in robotics, the Rescape SDK maps and tracks your environment in real time using advanced computer vision and sensor fusion.
Video showing 13th Lab's SLAM from a car (playing at 2X speed). No GPS used, only computer vision and sensor fusion.
The SDK also contains a tool for quick and simple structural 3D reconstruction of large environments, allowing gamers to quickly create and digitally “paint” large game spaces like an office and start a game. The SDK includes a C api as well as out of the box integration with the Unity game engine.
The Rescape SDK is 100% free to use and develop for, there are no license costs involved.
One of the most fun parts of Rescape is the multiplayer support. Multiple players positions can be synced over the network, and your real friends replaced with digitized representations. You can collaborate, or play against each other, in teams or individually.
Enable any existing FPS game for Rescape in a snap
While Rescape enables a totally new genre of gaming, which we call Reality Gaming, where you digitize the real world and then shoot it to pieces, it can also drastically change the experience of any existing mobile FPS game in a snap.
For companies that want their existing FPS games to utilize Rescape’s motion sensing technology as a six degrees of freedom (6 DoF) game controller, we have also included a directional pad on the game controller for moving over greater distances within a game without having to physically walk or run.
By adding support for Rescape into their existing games, which is just a matter of dropping in the free Rescape game controller library, developers can turn any existing iOS FPS game from a normal “small screen shooter” into a fully immersive experience, beyond even the console gameplay experience. Once you and two of your friends have tried playing a game like Quake together using Rescape, running and jumping around like mad in your respective apartments, you’ll never want to play it in any other way again!
6 degrees of freedom controller for any FPS game
Optics optimized for robust visual tracking
Rescape includes optics which are optimized for robust visual tracking. It features a 180° fisheye lens, which together with the Rescape computer vision SDK provides unparallelled motion tracking, even during very fast movements.
The first manufacturing batch will support: iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, and will include experimental support for the iPhone 4S.
Android phones are a bit more complicated due to the greater span of different hardware and optics. We will be taking a device by device approach and expect to support a set of high-end Android devices in the months following the first release.
May 2014 – finalize mechanical and electrical design of the Rescape controller, find manufacturing partners
June 2014 – finalize Rescape controller and smartphone holder design, finalize agreements with manufacturing partner and suppliers
July 2014 – make tooling for injection molding, produce and verify first pilot batch of electronics, CE certification
August 2014 – manufacture and verify first pilot batch of the Rescape controller, finalize design of packaging and manual, start first full manufacturing batch
September 2014 – verify first full batch, start shipping Rescape controllers to our backers
We want to get the Rescape Controller and SDK in the hands of as many developers as we can, both large and small, so that they can play around with it and hopefully both add Rescape support for their existing titles to improve gameplay and user value of those, but also start imagining completely new games, that really leverage reality in a new way!
We also want to reach gaming enthusiasts and get the Rescape product in their hands early, involving them in the process and through their feedback making the Rescape product even better.
The team behind Rescape
13th Lab is a computer vision startup based in Stockholm, Sweden. We founded the company on the belief that the camera will soon replace the GPS as the mobile device’s most important sensor to interpret and navigate the world around you.
13th Lab are:
Oskar Linde: co-founder/CEO, computer vision PHD candidate
Anders Bond: co-founder, product lead
Petter Ivmark: co-founder, backend and developer relations
Rasmus Simander: computer vision and sensor fusion engineer
Peter Nillius: PhD computer vision
Alexander Sjöholm: computer vision engineer
Greg Spector: PR/Marketing
Since we started 13th Lab in 2010, we’ve been hard at work on our SLAM technology. In 2011 we released the first consumer SLAM application on the app store, the game Ball Invasion. In early 2012 we provided this technology for free to developers through the PointCloud SDK.
Rescape was born when we realized that this amazing technology which can understand the world around you and how you move in it, could let you turn the world around you into a game, where your movements in the real world are captured and mimicked in real-time in the virtual world.
After some brainstorming, hacking and cardboard prototyping people who tested it were amazed at the experience we had created.
We hope you are as excited about Rescape as we are, and that you will help us making the world around us a game by backing our Rescape campaign.
Risks and challenges
We have worked very hard to minimise risk as much as possible before starting this campaign. We have hardware prototypes that are fully functional, including electronics and trigger mechanisms and the computer vision software.
However, there is always a risk of unforeseen challenges when manufacturing physical products. If any unexpected issue arises, we are resolved to doing everything we can to get as close to our delivery timetable as possible. We are committed to getting Rescape into the market and have all the skills needed to do so.
Rescape will support Android, but we're not able to specify specific models yet. The Android market changes quickly, so we'll need to see what phones are most popular in 6-9 months. The reason for doing Android after iOS is that there are so many different models, version etc, and since we need to fit a lens on the device it's more work than on the iPhone models.
Disclaimer: We have not tested the Tango phone, so this is from what we've learned from news articles etc.
Tango has a lot of similarities with Rescape. Both want to understand the world around them in 3D using the camera and other sensors. Google has also identified gaming as an interesting use case. Both use SLAM (although different variations) to accurately track device movements in 3 dimensions. Tango is specialized hardware (chips, dual back cameras, depth sensors) while Rescape works on existing devices with a simple lens attachment. Rescape is also optimized for gaming with the game controller with trigger and control pad.
VISIT 13TH LAB FOR A DAY + HAND FINISHED 3D PRINTED PROTOTYPE: Fly to Stockholm and geek out with us about computer vision, learn about our future, play in the office you've seen in our video and leave with a 3D printed limited edition Rescape game controller! Includes travel expenses up to $1000, the hand 3D printed controller, one full day in our office plus a T-shirt.