Character-building: The toys of two halves

12.04.2011 London : Dentsu London : BERG London

London – Communications agency Dentsu London and design consultancy BERG London are collaborating on a concept range of augmented reality-enabled toys called Suwappu.

Suwappu, which means swap, toys have augmented reality (AR) capabilities and come in two swappable halves, a torso and legs (or pants). Connected AR devices can read each component using a specially developed app.

The app renders 3D environments around the characters, which include Badger, Tuna, Fox and Deer, based on the legs. Fox’s legs, for example, produce an urban environment. The torso generates the character’s personality. Its face is used as an AR marker for the app, which overlays facial animation and dialogue bubbles onto the character.

The characters can also interact with each other. ‘It’s possible to set up games and narratives based on the ways that the characters and their pants are manipulated,’ according to BERG. ‘We see the media and animation content around the toys as almost episodic, like comic books,’ says BERG principal Jack Schulze. ‘Their changing characters, behaviour and motivations are played out across different media.’

Dentsu is now speaking to potential manufacturers, distributors and media partners to bring the project to market.

This is a great example of a toy tailored to the expectations of Generation D, the first generation of digital natives.

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