Every now and then I discover a toy that will completely revolutionise the way that my children play. Although I receive several emails a day about new toys on the market, very few make me sit up and listen in the way that this one did. Like something out of back to the future, SwapBots have landed – the new augmented reality toys, proof that, once again, toys are championing the adoption of the latest emerging technology.
Following the runaway success of Pokemon Go and Snapchat’s seamless integration of advanced technology, it is apparent that consumers have an appetite for augmented reality and the endless possibilities it presents. The knowledge gap surrounding these new technologies is clearly being bridged by accessible, playful uses of this new form of interaction with the real world.
WHAT ARE SWAPBOTS?
SwapBots are collectible toys that use augmented reality to create a spectacular, interactive video game world around a physical toy. By swapping pieces of the SwapBots, the player can influence in-game attributes. The player simply points their phone or tablet at the SwapBot toy to see it come to life as the digital animation is overlaid onto it. Amazing right?
SwapBots is setting out to prove that bringing together digital and physical play for children, is only a positive thing. Founded and grown by parents, this innovative take on toys has been developed by a team in the UK who believe that augmented reality can change the way children play, for the better. The startup features four parents who are using their own experience to develop the toy and game, creating a solution to their own dilemma of their kids being glued to apps and games that weren’t fueling development or communication skills.
Unlike other scan-to-play toys, the SwapBots toys function as an integral part of the gameplay rather than just a means to unlock content for use within a conventional video game. When the characters are exchanged and swapped, new characters are formed, encouraging children to create over 700 character combinations, develop their problem solving skills and to interact and communicate with one another.
To play SwapBots all you need is a tablet or smartphone and a SwapBots toy – there are no expensive hardware interfaces and the free accompanying app eschews in-app purchases and ads. The player simply points the camera at the Bot to see it come to life. Each toy can be configured differently using the swappable components, creating a new five-sided three-dimensional AR marker on the fly.
WHAT DO THE EXPERTS SAY?
Augmented Reality toy SwapBots proves just how much impact the 21st century parent can have, when it comes to the toys their children play with.
SwapBots co-founder John Keefe says :-
“SwapBots was conceived over a few drinks after exhibiting our augmented reality prototypes in Silicon Valley – we wanted to do something radically different to the enterprise and health uses of the tech that proliferated at the time and interactive toys seemed like the perfect fit…….
Our initial run of nine toys can produce 729 different combinations, pushing existing mobile AR technology to the limit, especially when the toy remains in play throughout the main battle-based gameplay.”
SwapBots CMO Phil Charnock adds :-
“Augmented reality has the power to turn any surface into an interactive and animated one, making it ideal to form the basis of a truly tactile and compelling toy and game that bridges the physical and digital divide.”
Click here to support Swapbots and discover more about this must have toy!