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Square Off. The next big thing in the world of chess.

Square Off. The next big thing in the world of chess.

SquareOff
Oct 24, 2016, 1:03 PM 10

Lack of time, busy schedules and distances has robbed us off the luxury of playing on a real, classic board. But, that’s about to change in a big way. Playing chess on a screen is passé. It’s time to get back to those tangible, classy boards that you cherished so much.

Now you can play with your friends and family who are sitting miles away, or challenge any chess enthusiast in the world right on this board. All thanks to Square Off – world’s most evolved chess board ever. Here’s a board that can connect you to the entire world. Want to play a game of chess with a friend? Possible. What if your friend is sitting across borders? Possible. What if he or she doesn’t have the same board? Still possible.

Well, you can’t imagine the possibilities this one board has to offer. Take a look at the innovative technology and the interesting features that Square Off has brought on the table, and you will understand why why it deserves to be backed on Kickstarter.

 

"Omg! it's like a faceless Ghost!" (Watch Square off in action)

 

How it works

Two chess boards are connected with each other with the help of the Square Off app on your smartphone, doesn’t matter if the opponent is sitting next door or in any corner of the world. Every move that your opponent makes will be reflected on your board.

It uses a compact 2 axis robotic arm with a magnetic head beneath the box to move the magnetic chess pieces. The AtMega 2560 chip with Bluetooth BLE ensures smooth communication with a smartphone, taking care of decryption and execution. The most important thing is that it is programmed in a way so that the chess pieces don’t collide during automatic movements.

Reflects opponent move in real time!

  

Various playing modes

  • Square Off mode: Challenge anybody, from anywhere in the world. You can either play board vs board or board vs app. The chess pieces shall move on their own, reflecting every move of your opponent.
  • Training mode: Play against the artificial intelligence of the board that can challenge you with 10 different difficulty levels.
  • Live streaming mode: Tune into any match, worldwide. It also lets you record those matches and replay them, whenever you want.

 

 

Spectacular chess set

The premium board with rosewood finish perfectly complements the cutting edge technology. Also, the rosewood and maple wood chess pieces are handcrafted for that classic experience of playing the game. Also, there are two choices available in the board. The kingdom set is compact, and great for small, cozy living rooms. While the grand kingdom set comes with an additional parking space for the chess pieces and adds a touch of grandiose to the room.

 

Future of board gaming

Imagine if you could play all the board games on Square Off. Be it Chinese checkers, snakes and ladders, scrabble or any other fun game, there is a possibility to adapt it on this board. Which means you can play your favourite board games with anyone you like, exactly how you like - on a real board.

Square Off is the future of board gaming. If you are a board game lover and believe in our vision like the 340+ backers on kickstarter, join the club and back us so that we can connect the entire world with one single board.

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The story behind

In the year 2013, we were approached by the Chairperson of National Association For The Blind to explore the feasibility of an idea - a chess board for the visually impaired. We took it up as a challenge and we used all our knowledge and designed a blueprint in 2013. But, we didn’t have enough funds to create a prototype. So, we decided to participate in various technical paper presentations and national level tech competitions to earn the prize money, in order to create the prototype. While we were at it, RIDL - the incubation center came to our help. They backed us with research funds. Also, we received great support from our college’s trust - Somaiya Vidyavihar Trust, throughout the development of Square Off.

Finally, the first prototype was built in 2014. And guess what? It worked. We showcased this prototype in many national exhibitions and received great reviews. And on 3rd October, 2014, for the first time we got an opportunity to present our prototype in front of an international audience in Maker Faire, Rome.This was a real turning point. We received tremendous response, exhaustive feedback and we realised that the game board has the potential to connect the whole world. The next step was to perfect it. So, the moment we returned, we were driven to work even harder.

  


 

The evolution of Prototypes

Prototype after prototype, feedback after feedback, one international fair after another, finally our Beta product was ready in May, 2016. Here’s a quick review of the challenging journey of developing the prototypes.


Prototype 1

The proof of the concept, it presented the possibility of automated movements by sensing and analysing the user inputs. With a set-up time of 30 mins, it was slow and noisy. Also, it required to be connected to a computer to meet the demand of high processing power.

 

Prototype 2

It was built in July 2014. With voice feedback for each and every move, braille coordinates, texture difference between black and white squares, braille chess set, strong magnetic chess coins, it was a small and portable machine. But, the chess pieces were too small and the board still needed to be connected to a PC. It required bigger pieces to ensure comfortable handling for the visually impaired. This was exhibited

in Maker Faire Rome and the fabulous response overwhelmed us.

 

Prototype 3

 

Built in December 2014, after returning from Rome. This was a sleeker version, with LED and LCD screen to make it visually interactive. Bluetooth enabled and app controlled, it was fast and accurate. Capture space was an added bonus. Although, it had a smoother mechanism, the board lacked sophistication and style. That’s when we decided to create a classic, rosewood finish chessboard with exquisitely designed chess pieces.

 

Prototype 4

 

A refined board that was designed tastefully but was heavy and couldn’t endure weather conditions. And was very expensive because of the rosewood body.

 

Finally!

 

Winner of Editor's Choice Award, 2 Maker of Merit awards at world Maker Faire NY 2016 and Rome 2016 resp.

In January 2016, we successfully assembled the Plug and Play Beta Version. Built with medium density fibre with rosewood finish, the board is water resistant. Thus, it can withstand seasonal changes. And the handcrafted rosewood and maple wood chess pieces give it a premium look.  


Ready to roll

Once the Beta product was ready the most important thing was to test its demand in the market. So we produced a small batch of 20 Collector’s Edition boards, which got sold out in no time. Next step was to work out the mechanics of the large scale production. The aim was to produce a technologically advanced product without compromising on the high quality body of the board.  Which means advanced software and hardware perfectly encased in a premium wooden surface.  

In the end of July, 2016 we visited Shenzhen, China to explore the manufacturing possibilities. Shenzhen being an electronics hub of the world, we found the technical expertise.  But, finding a dealer for wood wasn’t that easy. After a lot of research and we fortunately stumbled upon a dealer who could supply the desired quality of wood. After a lot of struggle, now we are all set to start production on a big scale and reach a larger number of people.
 
Support Square Off on Kickstarter 

 

Thanks

Aatur Mehta

Founder, Square Off



 

 

 

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