Oak dock puts augmented reality on the table

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The Oak dock, along with the game cards and music pads it interacts with

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Augmented reality has already proven useful for handy car owners and first responders, but its value extends well beyond purely practical applications. The team at ToneTree has created an iPhone dock designed to turn tabletops into an AR playground, for gamers who want to add a new dimension to their battles or budding musicians on the road.

Although ToneTree makes big claims about its capabilities, the Oak dock is fairly simple in its construction. It sits the iPhone above the table, and is said to use its camera to figure out what the space immediately in front of it looks like (though there's no information available on how this is achieved). The dock will house a regular iPhone, although an extra piece is required for plus-size models.

When it's not in use, the dock folds up to about the same size as the smartphone. Although specifics on size/capacity are not revealed, ToneTree says the battery built into the dock should last around two weeks, and charging is handled by a standard USB connector. At the moment it's only compatible with the iPhone, although there are plans to bring an Android version to market as well.

Once the iPhone is docked and the companion Oak app launched, users are able to interact using cards or small plastic figures. Gamers are able to bring their card battles to life, with animated figures popping up on the screen based on what's going on in the game, while a different mode lets you pilot a real plastic spaceship through an ever-changing virtual world.

Beyond its gaming potential, the team at ToneTree has also tailored the Oak dock to musicians. The system is able to mimic a drum pad using a set of on-table cards called Rockstar Pads, giving users the ability to assign each one a sound. Although there is a set of pre-assigned sounds built into the app, players are also able to connect up with a wide range of music apps and programs using MIDI.

There's a developer kit, too, which includes the company's SDK for people who want to create an app in AR. Although the kit includes a special cube for developers and the full range of totems and cards, instructions about how to print unique 3D and 2D items to use with the system are also on the way.

At the moment, the Oak dock is live on Kickstarter, where it's already surpassed its initial US$30,000 goal with 24 days left. Pledges start at $49, and the full range of totems, cards and pads are included in the box. Deliveries are expected to take place in August 2017.

You can check out the Oak Kickstarter pitch video below.

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