Asteroid is building a human-machine interaction engine for AR developers

When we interact with computers today we move the mouse, we scroll the trackpad, we tap the screen, but there is so much that the machines don’t pick up on — what about where we’re looking, the subtle gestures we make and what we’re thinking ?

Asteroid is looking to get developers comfortable with the notion that future interfaces are going to take in much more biosensory data. The team has built a node-based human-machine interface engine for macOS and iOS that allows developers to build interactions that can be entered into Swift applications.

” What’s concerning about rising human-machine interface tech is the hope that the user shall be permitted’ upload’ as much as they can’ download’ today ,” Asteroid founder Saku Panditharatne wrote in a Medium post.


To bring attention to their development environment, they’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign that yields a decent snapshot of the magnitude of knowledge that can be enabled by today’s commercially available biosensors. Asteroid surely doesn’t want to be a hardware startup, but their expedition is largely serving as a path to expose developers to what tools could be in their interaction blueprint arsenal.

There are dev kits and then there are dev kits, and this is a dev kit. Developers jump-start on board for the full amounts of the packet get a cluster of open hardware, i.e. a cluster of gear and suits to build out hacked-together interface solutions. The $450 kit returns abilities like eye-tracking, brain-computer interface electrodes and some gear to piece together a motion controller. Backers can also simply buy the $200 eye-tracking kit alone. It’s all extremely utility minded and clearly not designed to stir Asteroid those big hardware bucks.

” The long-term purpose is to support just as much AR hardware as we can, we just made our own kit because I don’t think there is that much good stuff out there outside of labs ,” Panditharatne told TechCrunch.


The crazy hardware seems to be a bit of a labor of love for the time being, while a got a couple of AR/ VR designs have eye-tracking baked-in, it’s still future generations away from most customer VR machines, and you’re certainly not going to find too much hardware with brain-computer interface methods built-in. The startup says their locomotive will do plenty with exactly a smartphone camera and a microphone, but the broader sell with the dev kit is that you’re not building for a particular article of hardware, you’re experimenting on the bet that interfaces are going to grow more closely intertwined with how we process the nations of the world as humans.

Panditharatne founded the company after stints at Oculus and Andreessen Horowitz where she spent a lot of time focusing on the future of AR and VR. Panditharatne tells us that Asteroid has raised more than$ two million in funding, but that they’re not detailing the causes of that money fairly yet.

The company is looking to raise $ 20,000 from their Indiegogo campaign, but the scaffold is the clear sell here, exposing people to their human-machine interaction locomotive. Asteroid is taking sign-ups to assemble the waiting list for the product on their site.

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