Why augmented reality is the future of toys

  • Prepare for AR apps for all your childhood playthings

    Augmented Reality is the latest trend when it comes to toys for children of all ages. Toymakers see a huge potential to attract the „screen-addicted generation“ with a combination of physical and digital toys.

    But creating playsets with AR that are user and kid friendly is not easy. There are a few difficulties to be considered: First of all you need both physical toy designers and programmers for AR that work together. Furthermore the physical play experience should be able to stand on its own without the app. Another point is to create an AR interface that doesn’t have the child staring at the screen for too long. And that’s not all.

    There are many rules that have to be obeyed when creating AR toys for kids to make sure the toys are actually more fun and to not just create an expensive gimmick to increase the toys’ price tag. Tech Radar tested three smart tech toys that use AR and here’s what they found out:

     

    LEGO Hidden Side

    LEGO Hidden Side is a set that enables the kid to build haunted towns and spooky locations. The kids can build it up and engage with it easily by playing inside with their mini figures. Tech Radar thinks the phone app is unnecessary for the play experience.

     

    Pictionary Air

    Pictionary Air is like the AR version of the drawing part in the game Activity. You stand in front of someone holding a phone or tablet camera and draw in the air with a light-tracked pen. The camera tracks the drawing and and projects it on the sreen for everyone else to see. The other players have to guess what you’re drawing. The technology worked very well. Tech Radar rates the game as promising because of the fact that it involves work or play with other people and doesn’t isolate the person using it.

     

    Pai Botz

    Pai Botz combines playing with learning. It teaches young children about techniques like sequencing and looping as well as coding languages. It also comes with 150 physicals blocks that have to be used to build and rebuild the robot. Although there seem to be a few calibration issues the toy is very promising.

    By 2023, consumers will spend tens of billions of dollars on augmented reality – at least that’s what the industry predicting. Phil Sage, an inventor at Hasbro said that AR apps will become more and more multi-modal in the future so that other senses and features like a voice assistant are incorporated.

     

    We are very excited to see all those developments in the toy industry.