As in each of the last few years Augmented Reality toys and games were very visible at Toy Fair in New York last week.
These games combine physical and digital interaction which is a fantastic way to get kids away from the traditional TV or computer screens and encourage them to interact with the physical world.
Here is a collection of Augmented products I discovered:
Barbie Digital Mirror Lets Kids Try on Makeup
Allow young kids to try out make up while avoiding all the mess. Can’t go wrong with that! The game uses the iPad camera to track faces.
Mattel Disney Princess Ultimate Dream Castle
The concept of augmenting dollhouses have been around for sometime (see Helen Papagiannis). This, I believe, is the first mass market dollhouse to support augmented reality.
We have seen many popup book, but Popar is the first to put so much effort into it. Popar is fully immersed in the AR industry and have product lines incorporating AR that are currently in the worldwide marketplace.
Orbotix introduced a fun innovation with its smartphone-controlled Sphero Ball last year. Now, they have enhanced it with an augmented reality character and matching games that augmented the ball. Leveraging robotics to create this form of augmented reality games seems like a great way to bring AR to the masses in a fun way. It overcomes many challenges facing the common AR approaches.
Imaginext Apptivity Fortress
Most of the game play still revolves around an iPad screen, but it’s an interesting attempt to combine physical and virtual play.
Wii introduced physical games to millions of living rooms, and Microsoft Kinect made our bodies the controllers for games, but NeuroSky and Puzzlebox promises to not even require a body – just your mind to play. Here is a simple but awesome example how furry ears can be controlled by your brain waves alone. Next I wish to have such a tail!
Nuko Toys and Cards
Many studies have shown that physical hands-on interaction improves learning & memory. On that premise, Nuko adds cards interaction to their games. Is it truly augmenting the experience? You’ll be the judge.
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Lego amazing user-created robots have become more sophisticated and can be controlled by various sensors, and smartphones.
Somewhat similar to Sifteo (see next), but puts more focus on sensors and mechanics while Sifteo has slicker screens and focused on games that come to life through physical interaction.
Scan Games – trigger content on smartphones with QR codes and cards
Last but least on our list today…it’s cool that this game leverages QR Codes as an input for a smartphone trivia game, but the use in this game seems forced. Isn’t it a better experience to simply roll the dice on the phone screen itself? It might have been a great experience if the cube itself would have been augmented with graphics that truly enhance the experience.
Toy Fair 2013 featured a really nice collection of augmented toys and games which are spear heading the use of augmented reality for the masses. What will you build next?