Kids (and adults) who love to play first-person shooter, Nerf guns or laser tag games will definitely find the AppTag Laser Blaster toy interesting.
The product, which is currently seeking pledges on Kickstarter till March 16, is developed by Australian inventor Jon Atherton. The premise is simple: the blaster is armed with an infrared sender and receiver to communicate with other blasters, while a focused infrared beam and sensor will be used to register hits on your prospective targets. AppTag communicates with your iOS or Android device with high-frequency sounds instead of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. That means it won't be a huge drain on your devices when it's connected.
To simulate the actual game, a free app is included with the retail package. This will be used to keep track of your score and other features, including your team member's position or missions designed for the game. The app also works with augmented reality, which is used to collect medkits, armor, weapons and ammo packs to increase your chances of survival against your opponents. The blaster is designed with a pressure sensitive trigger switch, a large reload buton and four customizable buttons for app developers to expand on the gameplay, including communication, weapon changing or sniper zoom.
And that's the unique proposition for the AppBlaster. According to Atherton, the app is open-source and comes with an SDK that lets developers create their own games and missions within the app. With over 256 IR codes in two groups (odd and even parity check), the app is designed for large groups of players.
Further development is in the works, with plans to implement a cloud based system for player code registration to track when and which target the shot hit. Since it is attached to a smartphone with GPS capabilities, Atherton isn't ruling out the potential to enable wide area gaming over 3G with a much larger crowd.
The blaster itself is also compatible with other blaster toys such as a Nerf gun with a rail accessory. That means you can outfit the AppTag Laser Blaster with an even more menacing and imposing weapon, though rolling around with a larger weapon might not be any easier.
We can only imagine what developers and consumers can do with this laser tag gun built for smartphones. Perhaps, a customized mission featuring the player working together to fend off a zombie apocalypse? Fair warning, if the game gets rough, you might want to put some protective cover for you and your smartphone, and hope you don't get too excited and crack your screen as you take cover.