Remember Silas Adekunle, the founder/CEO of Reach Robotics, and developer of the world’s first augmented reality gaming robots? His company just signed an exclusive sales deal with Apple, and his robots, Mekamon, will now be exclusively sold in Apple stores in the UK and US.
The Nigerian-Briton, an engineer, graduated with first class honours from the University of the West of England in Bristol, with a Bachelor of Science in Robotics Technology. He was born in Nigeria but moved to the UK when he was 11 years old.
His company, Reach Robotics, an augmented reality gaming company which creates robots for both fun and STEM education, struck the deal with Apple recently.
“We’ve created an entirely new video gaming platform,” Adekunle said in a statement by Black Enterprise.
“MekaMon straddles both the real and virtual worlds while taking the gaming experience beyond a player’s screen and turning their sitting room into a limitless robotic battle zone.
“MekaMon represents a quantum leap forward in the leveraging of augmented reality. Players can whip out their iPhone to battle their multi-functional, connected battlebots in the physical and virtual worlds at the same time.
“When I was a student at UWE Bristol I spent some time going into schools to help inspire young people and it struck me that there was a huge untapped market for a consumer robot with a difference.
“We used to go in and explain simple robotics to try to inspire the young roboticists and engineers of the future and this experience set me off thinking about designing gaming robots.
“This is an exciting time for our company as now after years of development work we are finally able to bring Mekamon to customers across the UK and US and with plans to go global.
“UWE Bristol has given us an amazing start and we are so grateful for their support.”
The MekaMon robots currently sell for about $300/N108,000, and they combine real-world gameplay with augmented reality. They are made of plastic and are controlled using a smartphone app, which creates a virtual world for users to battle in and explore. The app is also used to upgrade the robots with new abilities.
The deal is similar to ones Apple has struck in the past, as it has looked to promote hardware startups that make particularly compelling use of its own technologies.
Silas, speaking to TechCrunch, described how the move came about:
“I demoed to (Apple) at GDC. One of our investors set up a meeting and they loved it. At the time, I didn’t know they were going to announce ARKit. When I saw it, it made sense. It was the right direction.”
Players will be able to choose between playing in the real world, or in augmented reality, and, according to Inverse, the robots will be able to move and use any object in the room to block or hide from attackers.
The robots are compatible with both iOS and Android, and can be personalized with both weapons and shields.