Starbreeze Acquires ePawn For Its NFC Tracking Technologies, Including Room-Scale Sensor Carpet

Starbreeze AB announced that it has acquired a French company called ePawn that owns a number of patents involving NFC (Near Field Communication) tracking technologies, which Starbreeze plans to put to use with its various projects, including a game called Geminose that interfaces with toys similar to Skylanders, and a room-scale tracking system that can be embedded into any kind of flooring.

Starbreeze purchased ePawn for 4M Euros (approximately $4.46 million USD) in Starbreeze shares and 1.5M Euros in cash. In the deal, Starbreeze gains seven patents involving NFC technologies. EPawn’s nine employees will join the Starbreeze team in France (formerly InfinitEye), and they will aid in developing the company’s VR technology. Emmanuel Marquez, Starbreeze AB’s CTO, noted that ePawn CTO Valentine Lefevre will be leading AR technology development for Starbreeze properties.

EPawn’s technology is designed for “toys to life” games, which are physical toys that interface with software. EPawn’s technology is able to track the “position, orientation and altitude” down to the “millimeter level” of up to 40 NFC tags at once. The company has also adapted the tech for room-scale use. EPawn has created a “sensor carpet” that will track you while you move above it while wearing an “off-the-shelf NFC tag.”

Starbreeze ePawn

The current sensor carpet prototype is 3x1 meters, but the technology can be built into modular tile systems that can equip large spaces with tracking. Marquez said that the sensors can actually be embedded into anything, including concrete. ePawn’s technology will give StarVR the opportunity to have its own proprietary room-scale tracking system.

Starbreeze has been making some big moves to position itself as a leader in the VR industry. The company acquired InfinitEye and its HMD from StarVR last year, early this year the company joined the Immersive Technology Alliance, and most recently, Starbreeze partnered with Acer to form a joint company that will manufacture the StarVR HMD.

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  • hdmark
    the comment about being in embedded into concrete has me wondering... first- could this be used to create the best laser tag arena ever? im picturing a full out laser tag arena (multi level with obstacles) with everyone wearing the wearable back packs and HMD's. the room could be mapped into the game so no one would run into anything (already programmed into the game). and instead of a dark laser tag arena, you could be in whatever world they have set up?

    also... for the industrial side, i thought they were already using VR for contruction projects, such as building a large tanker in a warehouse. would this enable people to be able to walk around the warehouse (sensors int he concrete tracking them) and still have accurate vR?
  • kcarbotte
    Anonymous said:
    the comment about being in embedded into concrete has me wondering... first- could this be used to create the best laser tag arena ever? im picturing a full out laser tag arena (multi level with obstacles) with everyone wearing the wearable back packs and HMD's. the room could be mapped into the game so no one would run into anything (already programmed into the game). and instead of a dark laser tag arena, you could be in whatever world they have set up?

    also... for the industrial side, i thought they were already using VR for contruction projects, such as building a large tanker in a warehouse. would this enable people to be able to walk around the warehouse (sensors int he concrete tracking them) and still have accurate vR?


    Thos are all great ideas.
    Next time I talk to starbreeze I will definitely ask about that sort of thing.


    VR and AR are definitely used for those kinds of industrial purposes. We recently ran a story about warehouse scale tracking for that exact purpose.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/worldviz-roomscale-tracking-unreal-unity,31887.html
  • hdmark
    Anonymous said:


    VR and AR are definitely used for those kinds of industrial purposes. We recently ran a story about warehouse scale tracking for that exact purpose.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/worldviz-roomscale-tracking-unreal-unity,31887.html


    that was the article that had me thinking about it. wasnt sure if you would need cameras if you have NFC sensors instead