Sifteo has raised $9 million in funding for its “Siftables” table-top gaming platform, according to peHub.
The Siftables are domino-like plastic tiles that sit on a table top. They contain small computers with motion-sensing, neighbor detection, a small display, and wireless communications. You can string the blocks together on a table to get them to interact with digital information and media.
I saw a demo of the platform recently, and it’s really cool. It was first demonstrated by David Merrill in a talk at Ted 2009 (see bel0w). Merrill and Jeevan Kalanithi created the project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab. Investors include the Foundry Group and True Ventures. Developers can use a software development kit to create games based on the system.
The cool thing about this is that it introduces a new kind of human-computer user interface. The smart tiles can be used to improve upon board games. For instance, you can see the letter tiles in a Scrabble game light up when you put them in an order that spells a dictionary-approved word. Previously, Sifteo raised a $1 million first-round of funding from True Ventures, and it has received grants from the National Science Foundation.