The high-tech chessboard of inventors unlocks a worthy opponent from recruits to recruits

An The connected games startup built by Overland Park is taking action that fulfills the Queen’s bet – approaching nearly $ 1 million in crowdfunding and unveiling its mission to make STEM-focused games more accessible.

“I think a lot of kids and adults immediately lose interest in something like a Rubik’s cube or a game of chess – because it’s difficult,” explained Jeff wick, serial inventor and CEO and one of the three co-founders of Bryght Labs, creator of ChessUp.

A one-of-a-kind, strategy-driven, connected chessboard, ChessUp serves as a worthy coach, analyst, and opponent, all in one game.

“I noticed my daughter was playing chess on an app with one of her friends. I had played chess a bit, not a lot, but wanted to play chess with her so we put together a game and started playing, ”he recalls, noting that an awkward realization l ‘struck as opponents grew increasingly under siege in their first game. .

“She’s a complete beginner and she continues to learn how the pieces move. I kinda know, but it’s like, do I let her win or do I just crush her? … It was the seed of ChessUp.

The chess board gives novice chess players like Wigh’s daughter the opportunity to eliminate mistakes, catch up on mistakes and engage in competitive play while learning the ropes of the trade, he explained. .

Click on here to learn more about the ins and outs of ChessUp and additional features that enable virtual play on its physical board, meaning players can interact on the platform from different locations.

Watch ChessUp’s Kickstarter video below, then keep reading.



“Our mission is really to make these [games] more accessible and more enjoyable on the first experience, so people get hooked.

And support for Bryght Labs’ first crowdfunding campaign proves that customers might already be hooked before they got a first taste of the gaming platform.

At the time of publication, ChessUp had brought in $ 797,099 with 26 days remaining for its Kickstarter campaign – which set a goal of just $ 30,000.

“Our day 1 was much bigger than expected. And every day since then has been more important than expected, ”said Wigh.

“What’s really cool is the feedback from people. We have received emails and messages like, “I love this; I want to be able to play with my dad, ”people don’t always want to be on a screen. They want a real board. You can configure the application [to] FaceTime or call the person you’re playing with.

Click on here to support the project on Kickstarter. The project is also supported by the MIT Sandbox at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.



Behind the table

“We are seasoned product developers and inventors. We work on risk. We are not really working on the product. When there are things we know we can do, we put them off and work on the risky part of the projects ”, Jeff wick noted.

“Internally we have all kinds of 3D printers and laser cutters and we’ve launched a prototype – which is the prototype you see on Kickstarter. And it looks a lot like the end product. This prototype proved all the features we needed.

“The technology – which is new, there is no board like this that can detect the touch of pieces, which is a key part of it – we invented it and proved it very early on. Then we had to prove how to do this cost effectively with manufacturing. We printed a 20 unit pilot batch and molded a few frames, then put it all together over the last six months – and it all worked, so we went to Kickstarter.

With social isolation being a continuing reality of daily life, solutions like ChessUp are increasingly welcome, Wigh said, noting that they are also a prime example of how innovation has driven life to life. COVID era.

“Chess has boomed for two reasons,” he explained, citing the competitive world of chess tournaments moving into the virtual realm and the Netflix release of “The Queen’s Gambit”.

“And social distancing has turned people into online chess. We’re happy to see COVID on its heels, but I think a lot of people have rediscovered a passion for the game. ”

As interest in the game grows, Wigh and her partners, Adam Roush, Director of Design, and Justin Farrell, Chief Technology Officer – who met while working together as part of an innovation team at Garmin, based in Olathe – hope to expand their mission by launching original games.

“Our technology allows great flexibility. We just have to change the printed top, the shape of the parts and the user interface and we have a different game, ”he said, noting that the trio hope to create a library of content that promotes problem solving and development. logic.

“It’s like flying a plane of broccoli in your little one’s mouth. You are always [teaching them STEM] but you do it like a game so it’s a great way to learn.

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