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The Startup Bringing Video Games into the Real World

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This story appears in the June 2013 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

You could say it was nostalgia that inspired David Merrill and Jeevan Kalanithi to create the plaything of the future. Noting that modern-day games operate increasingly in the virtual realm, with the kinesthetic component reduced to the click of a mouse or tap of a screen, the two MIT Media Lab graduate students felt a fundamental absence--the physical interaction that comes from old-school toys like building blocks and board games.

This was the impetus behind Sifteo cubes. The little computerized blocks communicate wirelessly with one another and respond in varying ways to being pressed, tilted, shaken and rearranged--turning video gaming into a truly tactile experience. "It's taking the wooden blocks you grew up playing with and giving them this digital life," Merrill says.

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