Bridge is a small box that is connected to your LAN or your WiFi network. It lives under your television, in your living room. When you turn it on, it starts an application on the networked computer of your choice. Your computer is running your favorite video game and streams it to Bridge, which displays it on your television. Bridge then sends back your controller's input to your computer.
It is as if your computer was right beside your television, as if it was a gaming console. We want to bridge those two worlds; bring your games into the living room or anywhere in the world, without moving your computer.
No, and that's why it can be cheap! It does not run games by itself, your computer does that. What it does is bridge your computer to your television, giving you an experience similar to a big budget console at very little cost.
Your computer runs the games, so your television can show it as pretty as what your computer can render it; no silly console limitation. It can be any games your computer runs. You are not limited to find the right game for the right console!
The hardware in the box is there to take your controller's input and streams it to your computer and take your computer's visual and audio signal and send them to your television; no need for long costly cables! Network cables are cheap, but WiFi has no cable at all!
Here they come: Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft are all launching their new consoles: the Xbox One, the Playstation 4 and the Wii-U. It's great for gaming competition. Or is it? We spent so much on our current consoles and library of games, we don't really want to buy a new set of consoles; and none of those are retro-compatible with our current games!
It's obvious their first goal is to put their hands in our pockets. We don't really mind paying for gaming, but are we getting the most for our money? They are designing a new set of consoles because they want us to buy them, not because they can't do better or offer me more!
Some say consoles are better for gaming while others swear by the PC. Why such a separation? We truly believe this is not the best we can do. We think it is time to end the differences between PC and console gaming.
So here's what we want;
- Play on our television, in our living room or anywhere else.
- Play with a controller, or the input of our choice!
- Have great visual quality.
The solution is simple; bridge your computer to your living room!
We were sure a company would create such a device ever since the last generation of consoles came out. They did not; time to do it ourselves.
Developing new hardware is not cheap; the electronic, the code, the design and the plastic molding are only part of the cost. The FCC Certification alone is very expensive.
We don't want to create a one-shot product that people would never hear about it again. We want to make a quality product that will change our perception of computers and displays.
But when compared to the price of game consoles, media centers or digital recorders which are designed for a specific and sometimes unique purpose, Bridge appear to be quite cheap.
We are using the expertise gained in the manufacturing of micro-computer such as the Beagle Bone or the Raspberry Pi. Without them, there would be no way to bring the processing power needed in such a small package at a reasonable price.
See BeagleBone: http://beagleboard.org/
See Raspberry Pi: http://www.raspberrypi.org/
Since it's not a console, the spec of Bridge will be fairly low, but it's also why it will be cheap and why it's such an interesting machine. It is not there to replace your computer; it's there to extend it, expand your computer's range; to bridge it to any television or screen in range of your network or the internet.
As if they were plugged directly in your computer, any USB or Bluetooth device that can be used to control a video game will work; keyboard, mouse, gamepad, joystick or driving wheel. You name it.
Bridge simply "bridges" your controller to your computer over your network or the internet, it does not require new drivers for your USB devices. That's what makes it so simple and easy to use. It uses a USB over IP protocol, in essence, any USB device connected to Bridge is seen as if it was directly connected to your computer.
See USB/IP Open Source software: http://sourceforge.net/projects/usbip/
Right now we are targeting the Windows platform. Most of today's computers or laptops are able to stream their output properly without any noticeable reduction in performance.
If there is a real interest, it is always possible in the future to port the software to Mac or Linux platform. It will only be possible if we go above our current funding goal.
The reality is we have all the tools needed to create this product right now. The latency over a local network is almost impossible to notice. Current wireless network are more than powerful enough to support it.
Apple announced a new feature for AppleTV which they call "Mirroring". Their device let you see your Mac's desktop on your television over WiFi. We want to make it work for Windows and take it one step further; let you connect USB or Bluetooth accessories to control your computer.
This is not fantasy, this technology works and big corporations are getting interested in it.
See AppleTV Mirroring: http://www.apple.com/appletv/airplay/
Image from Apple.com website
It's good for gaming, but there is more. Since it's also a "USB over IP" box, it allows you to connect devices such as a printer or a scanner. And since it's over IP, it also means over the internet. You could setup one Bridge in a conference room and run an interactive presentation that is streamed from your computer at home. The only things you need are a television and an internet connection.
It could be used for:
- Video game
- Movies or Netflix streaming
- Remote Desktop
- MAME Arcade Cabinet
- Printing or Scanning station
- Recharge USB device station
The original concept of this hardware comes from a need in video games, but there's no way to tell where this technology could lead us. It could do a lot more and change forever the vision of "one computer, one screen". Where there's a screen, there will be an infinite number of computers available.
Your computer could follow you wherever you are.
All the pieces of the puzzle are available now, it is not future technology. However, we need your help to assemble them to a full quality product that will forever change how we see a television or a screen. The computer will never have to be nearby anymore.
We hope you will also see the potential this new technology can offer.
We are a team with decades of experience in software and hardware creation. Our technical designer worked on video games such as Prince of Persia and Assassin's Creed. Our lead engineer worked on numerous electronic hardware projects, including intelligent prosthesis.
We have the experience and the knowledge to make this project a reality.