A Research Project on Hybrid Experiences

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Polaroid Socialmatic Camera

Polaroid SocialmaticPolaroid Socialmatic camera takes digital photographs that the user can quick-edit on the camera screen, post on different social media platforms via a Wi-Fi connection and print as physical copies straight from the camera.

Still waiting to be released, Polaroid’s Socialmatic camera is a 14-megapixel digital camera that comes equipped with an Android based operating system. The camera lets users take digital photographs that can be touched upon already on the camera’s 4.5-inch touchscreen. Users can also post their pictures on different social media platforms straight from the camera via a Wi-Fi connection. Reminiscent of the classic Polaroid cameras, Socialmatic can also print the pictures as physical copies on Zink’s Zero Ink ink-free paper. The size of the printed photos is 2×3” and they are promised to be smudge-proof, water resistant and tear resistant. The pictures are saved on microSD cards, and the camera also features a 2-megapixel rear-facing camera.

Socialmatic camera is due to launch in fall 2014.

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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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LEGO Life of George

Life Of George 2Life of George is an “app toy” Lego game. Players purchase a set of Life of George Legos and download a free smart phone app in order to build displayed Lego models. These are then “verified” to be properly assembled by using the smart phone camera. 

Life of George combines real Lego bricks with a smart phone app. Players first purchase the Life of George Lego set which includes an array of 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 long Lego bricks and a special “green screen” play mat. Available free for iOS and Android, the Life of George app provides the associated assembling game and the capturing software. Play consists of players trying to build displayed models, one at a time, as fast as possible. In the 2 player mode a friend can be challenged and competed against on 5 different models to see who builds the fastest. After finishing a model, the smart phone camera is used to capture the model to “verify” it. A score is then awarded for time, accuracy, etc.

The app includes also a creation mode where you design and capture your own models and use them to challenge your friends. There are various difficulty levels determined by the models and the time setting you choose (easy or hard). An internet connection is not required to use the app.

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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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Parrot AR Drone 2.0

Parrot AR Drone 3The Parrot AR.Drone is a radio controlled flying quadrotor helicopter built by the French company Parrot. The drone is designed to be controlled with iOS and Android devices. Through a built-in HD camera, the user can see and record whatever the Drone sees.

AR.Drone is made of plastic and foam and is about 30 cm long. It connects to an iOS or Android device using Wi-Fi to control its actions. The Drone has two cameras which can be viewed through the device’s screen. This HD video stream can also be recorded on a USB drive. In addition, the Drone has the ability to recognize 3D stages, is compatibility with augmented reality flying games, and has an ultrasound altimeter that lets it hover.

AR.Drone is demoed with two games, a virtual combat called “DRONE WAR” with solo and multiplayer mode and a “ROBOT” solo game demo against a virtual Robot. Parrot has also launched ARdrone.org open API (application programming interface) game development platform, to encourage game studios and developers to make software for the Drone.