It’s already possible to play digital chess against a far-away opponent, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a physical game board that could make the moves on its own, too? InfiVention Technologies’s first product is an interesting one – a magnetic and artificially intelligent chess board that responds to players’ commands and moves the pieces for them. The Square Off board will make it possible to play remotely without the need for sitting at a computer the whole time. First revealed on Kickstarter, the project managed to get itself fully funded in a mere six hours. With 20 days to go, it’s now funded at twice the 40,000 British Pound asking amount.
Square Off’s technology works alongside a companion app that sends the commands to the chess board itself. The board’s interior robotic arm, equipped with an AtMega 2560 chip, then maneuvers the pieces via magnetics. When an enemy piece is captured, it’s carried off the side of the grid. For novices, it also includes an AI that can play against the user at one of twenty difficulty settings. Finally, it can also stream a match live and record it for post-game viewing. Communication with the app via Bluetooth ensures the pieces don’t accidentally collide while moving, and allows players to save a game and resume it later.
With the project funded, InfiVention is calling on backers for engraving requests. The company will engrave text onto a personalized board when the product is ready to ship. The expected release date is sometime in April 2017, for a retail of 300 British Pounds, or about $375. That’s quite the wallet slayer, even if it is a robotic, artificially intelligent chess board.
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Matt Eschbach is a PC, Mac and Android indie game developer and fiction writer. His works have won multiple monetary awards from various contests. Graduating college in 2012 with a major in Game Design, Matt spends his time making stuff up and then building it. His favorite hobby… is sleeping.