Having instigated a NERF gun war at the last Disrupt SF Hackathon back in September, I understand how fun it is to run around shooting your friends with harmless foam darts in a big open setting. But anyone who’s participated in such antics knows that they come with some pretty annoying issues. Guns break for no obvious reason, foam darts go missing — or worse, end up everywhere — and after you’re done having fun, you’ve either littered or have to spend just as much time cleaning as you did playing.
CES Hardware Battlefield participant LyteShot is working on an alternate-reality gaming alternative to playing with traditional NERF guns. Its solution relies on wireless “guns” and sensors — known as the Lyter and LytePuck, respectively — that essentially act as more affordable laser-tag rigs.
In gameplay, the tech is simple: point the cartoonish gun at another player and click the trigger. If the person is wearing one of LyteShot’s sensors, their death/damage will be registered in the point system for whatever game everyone’s playing. The initial shot is fired via infrared, and the game is kept in sync between all players thanks to Bluetooth communication between the puck and each player’s phone.
LyteShot doesn’t see making laser tag more accessible as its endgame. Starting with the gun and puck as a base, the company hopes to build an open platform on which hobbyists and pro developers can build their own gadgets and games.
Using the startup’s SDK, one could make a simple heads-up display app (as the LyteShot team has already tested on the Epson Moverio smart glasses) that keeps track of points and objectives. You could also make a baton weapon that registers points when you land a hit. The only limitation is that you’ve got to make space for an Arduino board somewhere in your design (and, you know, make something that doesn’t hurt like hell when you hit someone with it).
Soon LyteShot plans to offer a marketplace where people can share their gadgets and code. If you’re the generous type, you’ll be able to provide schematics and code so people can 3D print these gadgets themselves, providing their own Arduino.
Those looking to make money will also be able to sell their gadgets fully assembled on the marketplace, though LyteShot hasn’t given details on what (if any) cut they’ll take. Hopefully the startup will also do some basic monitoring of their platform to keep dumb teenagers from going out with anything that resembles a real weapon too closely.