Scosche may have a reputation for crafting unusual gadgets, from roll-up keyboards to mobile phone blockers, but its upcoming device seems strange even by those standards. Recently at E3 2013, the company revealed smartROLL, a set of electronic gaming dice that connect to tablets and smartphones via Bluetooth.
Each smartROLL die is equipped with an internal accelerometer and motion sensors to detect what number it's showing, which is then transmitted to a smart device over Bluetooth. Up to ten dice can be connected to one smartphone or tablet, allowing them to be used in more complex mobile games. According to Scosche, the dice are perfectly balanced for random results and have a strong rubber exterior so they can be safely rolled on tablet screens.
With regular use, the coin cell battery that powers the electronic components in each die should last for about one year before it needs to be replaced. The dice automatically go into a sleep mode when not in motion to conserve energy, and the dots on each face are back-lit with LEDs, which light up when the dice are rolled.
Right now, Scosche is asking any developers interested in making apps for its electronic dice to apply for an SDK. Selected developers will receive two smartROLL dice for their own use, along with resources and feedback from the Scosche R&D team. So far, the company has already produced three games – Trivia, Craps, and Music Challenge – but has offered to promote other quality apps on the final product's packaging.
It's hard to imagine many tablet owners favoring physical dice over the virtual ones used in most mobile games, but some enterprising programmers may find a creative use for them. There's been no word on pricing or a release date yet, since smartROLL is still in development.