A Research Project on Hybrid Experiences

Barbie Digital Makeover Mirror

Barbie Digital Makeover Mirror 1Barbie Digital Makeover Mirror is an app toy aimed mainly at girls. Using an iPad as a “mirror”, user applies virtual makeup with the supplied toy wand. Via augmented reality, the makeup stays on the user’s face even if she moves her head.

Made by Mattel, Barbie Digital Makeover Mirror turns an iPad into an augmented reality mirror. An iOS tablet is first slid into the Bluetooth-ready “vanity frame”. Using an accompanied applicator wand and a special app, downloadable free from App Store, user can then apply “virtual makeup” on her face. Utilizing both the tablet’s front facing camera and augmented reality, the app projects user’s image with the virtual makeup on. Facial-tracking technology is used to keep track of the user’s face, so that the makeup “stays on” even if the user moves her head. The user picks a color from the mirror stand, and there are a couple of dozen shades to choose from. The makeup can be applied to eyes, cheeks, and lips, and also removed selectively. Specific makeups can be saved for later and customized with virtual stickers etc., while there is also a variety of ready-to-wear looks to choose from.

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Gigo Future Car

Gigo Future Car 1Gigo Future Car is a remote controlled, constructible toy car that utilizes AR technology to create a virtual city for the car to navigate in. The user builds the car from LEGO-like building blocks and uses a smart device to control its movements and set-up AR routes.

Gigo Future Car by Future Toy Taiwan is a combination of forward thinking toy templates. First, the car comes unassembled and is built from LEGO-like building blocks, actually giving the user eight different construction possibilities. Besides a car, the blocks can be used to build motor bikes, planes, hovercrafts and helicopters (though none of the latter are actually able to fly). The vehicles are powered by a small motor and sensors that detect remote control commands.

Second, users are able to download a free app to control the car, while the tablet can be used as AR lens in conjunction with the toy. The car comes with AR markers that can be used to mark generic buildings and famous landmarks such as Eiffel tower. Cards laying on the ground create a virtual AR city that can be then navigated. The car can be programmed to follow various behaviors and can even navigate the AR city by itself.  

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Foam Fighters

Foam Fighters 2An appcessory game from WowWee, Foam Fighters utilizes a line of small detailed foam airplanes (free to be flown on their own) that attach to the smart device to allow the user to “fly” the plane in simulated situations on the screen.

In Foam Fighters players take to the skies with foamy WWII fighter planes. Developed as a part of WowWee’s AppGear line of appcessory game-toys, Foam Fighters utilize a method of attaching the model foam airplane to the smart device via a suction-cup mounting arm. The app, available free for iOS and Android, then recognizes the plane through the back camera of the smart device.  When viewed through the device screen, the attached plane can be seen flying, fighting and taking digital damage.

The physical game box includes two fighters, two fold-out stands and one suction-cup mounting arm. Each plane unlocks a different campaign based on historical battles (Battle of the Pacific, Battle of Britain and Battle of Europe) and players can choose either Axis or Allied forces. Missions include dog fights, bombing runs, landing and refueling, and escorting units. Earning points allows players to upgrade the planes with different guns and bombs. The game can also be played in multiplayer mode, including eight players skirmish mode over local wi-fi.

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Elite CommandAR

Elite CommandARIn Elite CommandAR your smartphone is mounted onto a physical toy gun transforming the two into a first-person shooter. As the AR gun is scanned around, players can aim at and shoot the virtual aliens as they appear in the real surroundings.

Similar to Hasbro’s Lazer Tag, WowWee’s Elite CommandAR lets you connect your Apple iPhone or iPod or Android phone to a physical toy gun and play against real-world or digital “enemies” simultaneously. Your Apple or Android device acts as your “screen,” through which, utilizing the built-in camera, you can view both your real-life surroundings and digital elements, software generated aliens, superimposed on those surroundings. The game controls use a first-person viewpoint with pan and tilt functions. Users aim the pistol and pull its trigger to shoot enemies and targets in the game. Secondary pistol buttons can be used to raise shield, change weapons, select special weapons and reload. Game modes include Campaign (undertake a mission to save Earth), Training (hone your skills on the shooting range) and AR Battle (battle digital enemies invading your living room). The game also includes 2-player co-op mode where the campaign can be completed together.

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Invizimals 1Invizimals is an augmented reality based collectible-creature-game for the PlayStation Portable. It involves players catching and raising various creatures and doing battle with them. It was bundled with the PSP camera peripheral on launch.

Drawing comparisons to Pokémon, Invizimals involves players capturing and raising different species of creatures and battling other users or an AI opponent with them. Unlike Pokémon however, Invizimals requires the player to hunt and capture these creatures within the real world, using the concept of augmented reality, a camera attachment for the PlayStation Portable, and a physical “trap”, a square-shaped device used as a fiduciary marker. Monsters are spawned at different environments determined by colors of surfaces and time of day. Players are able to raise and level their monsters, and allow them to learn different attacks that can be used in battle. The trap can be used to view the monster collection and take pictures of it.

The player will be able to collect 100+ Invizimals during the course of the game. Each Invizimal has different attacks, powers, and skills. The player can level up their Invizimals by collecting “Watts”. The higher the level, the stronger the Invizimal.

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Hasbro Nerf Lazer Tag

Hasbro Lazer Tag 2Hasbro’s Lazer Tag combines a classic Nerf gun with a smart phone used as a targeting system. Attached on top of the gun, the smart phone augments its camera view to display virtual enemies and “bullet” trajectories, as well as other information.

The updated NERF Lazer Tag system lets players to pair their blaster with an iPhone or iPod touch. The top of the plastic gun features a slot for the iDevice which, when loaded with the Lazer Tag app, provides the player with an augmented HUD view from the smart phone camera.

The app features a single player mode where the user hunts and fires at virtual targets while earning points and unlocking content. While players are able to play against purely virtual opponents, the app can also be used to track battles with human opponents. The app also displays player gear and power level, and updates her progress on a global Lazer Tag leaderboard. Gaming experience is further enhanced with unlockable attacks and new gear. The app also shows the blast trajectories, letting the players see exactly where they are shooting. According to Hasbro, the Lazer Tag system will be able to detect shots fired from more than 200m away (reduced to 75m in bright sunlight).

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Disney DreamPlay

Disney DreamPlay app toys 1DreamPlay is an AR game product that works via an app downloaded to Apple devices. With the app open, players can point their device’s camera at a DreamPlay toy to trigger animations and other alternate reality interactions involving Disney characters.

DreamPlay toys are augmented reality products, made by Jakks Pacific, that use patented 2D and 3D recognition technologies to instantly recognize a toy, while adding moving characters to it, thus allowing interaction and play with the AR objects. The toys incorporate iD image recognition technology, which recognizes images, 3D objects, voice, speech, data, live video and more, with the capability to differentiate between millions of objects at once. This allows kids to use a physical toy to play iOS/Android app games and view animations using a tablet or smartphone. The content is focused on Disney franchises, such as The Little Mermaid and Peter Pan.

DreamPlay works via the cloud, with images and interactions stored on a remote server and streamed to mobile devices when the app is opened and the camera is pointed at the toys. The patented technology has also removed the need for any type of QR code. Jakks will also produce DreamPlay Toys based on other brands such as Monsuno.