Introducing Swapbots – the new augmented reality toy

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 comprises of nine core characters. Each character is built from 3 interlocking blocks, each block has it’s own features and superpower which can be swapped to form multiple unique characters. This means that from just 9 toys, children can create over 700 characters, which can they be brought to life via the SwapBots app, where they battle one another and also enjoy a full video game, that includes taking care of your own SwapBot, and a story mode through which they go on a fun and educational adventure.
The ethos of the toy is to put the latest technology into the hands of children using the mobile devices that they are having increasingly more and more access to. With no in-app purchases or advertising, SwapBots is parent-friendly and priced very competitively.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

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.

SwapBots co-founder John Keefe says :-
“I have three young boys so I see the joys and also the limitations of existing smart toys and mobile apps first hand – it’s informed every aspect of the end product.”

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.”

SwapBots Growth Expert and Senior Project Manager, Annie O’Toole, says :-
“Augmented reality is ideal for toys as it allows children to use their tablets without losing the tactile interactions with the world around them that are crucial to their development, something I’m profoundly aware of as my daughter grows up.”
With four children, all of whom are obsessed with my phone or Ipad, I often worry about screen time and whether the games that they play on there are, not only educating them but, encouraging them to use their imaginations. I love that Swapbots is, not only great fun, but so educational, requiring problem solving skills, teaching them about technology, and encouraging them to use their imaginations in a virtual world where anything is possible.

Click here to support Swapbots and discover more about this must have toy!

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16 Comments

  1. March 23, 2017 / 9:05 am

    I had never heard of these before. I just watched the video to see them in action. They look great. I bet they will be very popular 🙂

    • Laura Dove
      March 23, 2017 / 5:21 pm

      They look fab don’t they!! I can’t wait to try them! xx

  2. March 23, 2017 / 11:44 am

    Oh wow these look different and an interesting concept that is both fun and helps develop problem solving skills.

    • Laura Dove
      March 23, 2017 / 5:19 pm

      There’s nothing like them out at the moment, my eldest was amazed by it! xx

  3. March 23, 2017 / 2:43 pm

    I haven’t come across these before and definitely something that my son would enjoy. Gives him another excuse to use his iPod touch too.

    • Laura Dove
      March 23, 2017 / 5:18 pm

      Oh kids just love technology don’t they? My two year old is a whizz on the ipad! xx

  4. March 24, 2017 / 12:41 pm

    This is brilliant, it’s futile trying to shield children from technology so this seems like the perfect choice.

    • Laura Dove
      March 27, 2017 / 9:18 am

      I agree, if they are going to play these games, at least let them be educational!

  5. March 24, 2017 / 1:17 pm

    My son would have loved this when he was little. What a brilliant toy, so innovative!

    • Laura Dove
      March 27, 2017 / 9:18 am

      I can’t wait to try them! xx

  6. March 24, 2017 / 5:31 pm

    I think my kids would love SwapBots. Sounds great. Good to know it is developed by parents too.

    • Laura Dove
      March 27, 2017 / 9:13 am

      They sound amazing don’t they? I cant wait to try them! xx

  7. March 25, 2017 / 8:04 am

    I was a little skeptical of augmented reality toys but having seen Sebby interact with characters on the Gruffalo trail I would certainly consider these. Perfect for older children!!

    • Laura Dove
      March 27, 2017 / 9:09 am

      Me too, you always think surely it wont be as good as it looks. I’m really excited about these! xx

  8. March 25, 2017 / 8:42 am

    An interesting concept, maybe when I’m a bit older I might get more involved with digital play. At the moment though we just focusing on physical play and getting outdoors. It does look cool though x

    • Laura Dove
      March 27, 2017 / 9:09 am

      Haha yes, wait until you are a little older for these! xx

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