Augmented Reality ~ its a quickly growing trend currently ~ and honestly, i'm thrilled! It was such an art/research buzzword about 5 years ago when i was in college studying technology in the arts, and sure it's taken some time, but i've been absolutely fascinated how its been translating into commercial and more aesthetically interesting uses ~ particularly in the case where you have prints/objects you can hold up to webcams and cellphone cameras to see magicaly digital beings and objects appear which you can manipulate.
Metaio, out of Germany, seems to be leading some of the innovative commercial uses of this technology, and their latest project is a very fun one for LEGO! From the press release: "Munich, December 2008 - From November, the Danish toy manufacturer will test launch its "DIGITAL BOX" in selected toyshops and LEGO® stores worldwide. This interactive terminal will utilize innovative technology supplied by metaio in the form of a software program specially-developed for the LEGO Group by the Munich-based experts in
augmented reality solutions. Together with a camera and display screen, the software lets LEGO packaging reveal its contents fully-assembled within live 3D animated scenes." How much more fun does that make going to the toy store? Of course even cooler would be watching it build up in your hands piece by piece in full rotatable 3D when you hold it up ~ but i know, baby steps... See more preview pics of these new Digital Boxes on the next page!