Meet the Maker – guest article by Kelly Caceras

Chance Roth, Virtual Reality at A/OWhen I ask Chance Roth if he is a programmer, app developer, or engineer, he pauses and says: “All of those things.”

Chance Roth is, foremost, an innovator. Crafting creative ways to use gadgets and applications is what drives and satisfies his endless curiosity. He created the San Diego-based company Animate Objects/AO, which is an augmented reality and virtual reality factory–so to speak. He develops virtual reality (VR) apps and games.

He’s one of those people who is motivated and excited by being at the forefront of cutting-edge technology, crafting creative ways to use and innovate gadgets and applications.

When drones surged in popularity, he dove in and became the local leader of the San Diego Drone User Group. He’s also a member of the San Diego Maker’s Guild.

At the first annual Maker Faire San Diego in October last year, Chance and his crew set up a “fly cage” to battle drones for the entertainment of the crowd–which was estimated at 25,000 attendees for the Balboa Park-wide event. Some of the aircraft had strings hanging from them, like snares, to try to snag other drones and win the battle. There were also twenty mini-drones with which kids could pilot and interact. Unsurprisingly, it was a very popular area at the Maker Faire.

This year, the “Drone Fight Club” will again be at Maker Faire San Diego, but Chance is stepping it up: he’s also producing and introducing an augmented reality app that will turn Balboa Park into a virtual theme park.

Getting Virtual with Augmented Reality

Imagine you are walking around Balboa Park during Maker Faire San Diego. Want to find robots? Glance down at your phone for the map on the app. Wonder when the LED fashion show is taking place? Pull up the event schedule. Even better–want to learn more about robotics, drones, sculpture, microbrewing, or the giant fire-breathing display in the plaza? You’ll be able to hold your phone up to designated markers and view video of robot battles, fire sculptures, drones dancing as if they were just over your head, and so much more, all playing out right in front of you. You may be able to turn these interactions into a game with a touch to your screen.

These augmented objects can be placed anywhere; it’s like a moving map that urges you to interact with Balboa Park and the Makers’ incredible creations in new, creative ways.

The possibilities are endless; it doesn’t take much imagination to anticipate a massive trajectory for this technology in the near future. Chance reckons that this is the first time an app like this has been used in this manner, in a large area, like Balboa Park.

As if an augmented reality app and drones weren’t exciting enough—Chance has even more planned for Maker Faire San Diego. He’s preparing to construct two to four enclosed tents, like rooms, offering visitors the chance to learn about virtual reality, experience VR simulations, and maybe even playtest his brand new VR games.

“This will be hottest ticket,” he said. “I guarantee it.” And having played it, we can too.

Coming to Maker Faire San Diego2016 icon

Chance Roth will be one of more than 250 Makers exhibiting their creations and innovations at Maker Faire San Diego. Maker Faire is a festival featuring innovation and experimentation across the spectrum of science, technology, engineering, art, performance, and craft – like an interactive grown-up show-and-tell. It takes place inside 12 museums in Balboa Park and around the grounds of the Park as well. The second annual Maker Faire is October 1-2, 2016.

Do you have a cool project you’ve been tinkering away at? Do you know someone working on something amazing? We’d love to have you share with the world. The Call to Makers is now underway!

Early-bird tickets to Maker Faire San Diego are on sale now.

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