Square Off is a physical chess board connected to an app that moves pieces controlled by online opponents or AI training programs.
Making physical objects connected allows users to retain tactile experiences, while benefitting from the open world aspects of digitally sharing information, whether it’s via wooden blocks that play digital content, figurine jukeboxes that play Spotify playlists, or lego-style toys that teach kids coding. And now, that most ancient and enduring game of chess is undergoing a connected evolution.
Square Off, from India-based Infivention, is a connected chess set that automatically moves pieces across the board based on digital users’ moves. Maintaining a traditional look, the wooden boards and pieces feature a hidden robotic arm and magnets that seamlessly moves the pieces without knocking over any others. Users can compete online via a bluetooth connected app, with their moves represented in the physical board game of their opponent, or practice against a digital AI program. To further their training, users can also live stream matches, watching as moves are recreated on their boards. Currently crowd funding on Kickstarter, with early bird sets available for EUR 179, Square Off are aiming to launch in Spring 2017, with plans to develop other similarly connected physical games.
How else could traditional physical experiences incorporate digital connectivity?