“AppTag Laser Blaster brings first person shooter console gameplay to smartphones in the real world.” I love looking at Kickstarter to see what interesting ideas people have for iOS-related products and this funded Kickstarter campaign from Australian designer Jon Atherton allows users to transform their smartphone (or iPod Touch) into a real-world laser tag gaming system.

What is it?
It is toy blaster gun shaped unit to which users simply clamp any iPhone, Android or iPod Touch into the AppTag device and they’re ready to go. Using a case on your device? No problem, apparently the AppTag clamp is compatible with nearly any case. If the thought of you or your kids running around with a $200+ phone strapped to a toy gun doesn’t scare you…read on.

Obviously, as with any blaster toy, the object is to shoot your friends! The AppTag does the shooting and the smartphone keeps score and tracks everything else, the App even adds Augmented Reality objects such as medkits, armour, weapons and ammo packs! For targeting we use a focused infrared beam and sensor for the ‘laser’ so it’s totally safe. Each unit has an IR sender and receiver, and the AppTag unit works together with an attached smartphone or iPod Touch.

One particularly interesting aspect of the AppTag ins that the technology doesn’t rely on battery hungry things like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, instead it utilizes high frequency sound to communicate between devices. Atherton assures that “the high frequency sounds are well out of human hearing and don’t disturb animals since the volume is quite low.” Don’t worry, the headphone jack is still available so that the microphone and the speaker remain available for sound effects and in game communication.

There will be free App will be available when the blaster ships, however an API will also be made available allowing other developers to take advantage of the AppTag for their own projects.

The AppTag unit features six buttons:

  • A pressure sensitive trigger switch that can mount on any blaster trigger or the included pistol grip.
  • A large reload button.
  • 4 buttons that allow app developers to expand on gameplay, such as walky talky, change weapons, sniper zoom, pickup weapons, medkits, change menu etc.

If you already have your own Nerf™ guns (which have support for the accessory rail system) then you can remove the included grip and attach the AppTag to your toy armament of choice. “A sturdy rubberized trigger with wire and several small adhesive clips” are included allowing the AppTag trigger to attach to any existing gun.

About The Game

The free AppTag App keeps score via WiFi and players can pick up extra guns, ammo packs, health kits and body armour in a similar way to a console games like Halo, but this is in real life, inside or outdoors! You can play single, multi or team games and the AppTag can be used with other guns that have an accessory rail, such as Nerf™, BuzzBee™ etc.

What Do You Get?
1. AppTag Unit
2. Pistol Grip
3. Trigger and wire
4. Free App
5. Retail box

While the project is already fully funded at $50,817 (over 1.5 x its goal of $30,000) there are still around 16 hours left to pledge and get in on the ground floor. Like all Kickstarter campaigns, there are a number of rewards available for a range of pledge amounts which will get you anything from a chance at a free AppTag Laser Blaster ($10 pledge) to 20 AppTag Laser Blasters ($1000 pledge). Those making a pledge are expected to receive their AppTag units sometime in June, just in time for some outdoor fun.

For more information, visit the Kickstarter campaign page here.