Star Wars: The Last Jedi toys will arrive alongside an augmented reality scavenger hunt

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Retail x Toy x Augmented Reality – A perfect combination, and an upcoming trend! Star Wars is doing it. And, Joy Aether & SnapPop will be launching a deep-engagement toy marketing campaign, for 20+ toy brands in the next 2 months, stay tuned!

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The Internet of Things: An Introductory Tutorial Series

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In this series of post, the author will be presenting a set of Internet of Things technologies and applications in the form of tutorial in chapter form. Basic concepts are covered with an approachable style, not heaped in technical terms.

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How to differentiate between virtual and augmented reality

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People are already confused about virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), 360-degree video and heads-up displays. It will get worse before it gets better.

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Qualcomm’s new depth-sensing camera tech is designed for VR and face scanning

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Qualcomm’s Spectra Module camera program is getting a few key new members set to arrive in the latest generation of Android handset. Most notable among the..

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AR and VR in STEM: The New Frontiers in Science

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“Virtual and Augmented Reality are poised to profoundly transform the STEM curriculum. In this article, we offer several inspiring examples and key insights on the future of immersive learning and the sciences.”

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Why Augmented Reality Will Transform Education Infographic – e-Learning Infographics

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Augmented reality has the potential to revolutionize learning in primary and secondary schools more than any other technology has done in the recent past.

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Brief Reality: Acura, L’Oréal Latest Brands to Buy into Augmented Reality

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When it comes to differentiating from the competition, brands are continuing to leverage augmented reality to give consumers to the point that there are few “firsts” left to achieve in the marketplace. While L’Oreal jumps on the augmented reality bandwagon for cosmetics, Acura finds a new way to make augmented reality a spectacle in the automotive industry. Acura Turns to Augmented Reality Race to Showcase New TLX Sam Gorski of Corridor Digital won the first-ever augmented reality race, which Acura broadcasted live via Facebook yesterday to promote its new 2018 TLX. Gorski beat out three

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Happy 2017! What’s your mobile strategy for the new year?

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The HKSAR government had just launched the Technology Voucher Programme (TVP).  TVP aims to subsidise local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in using technological services and solutions to improve productivity, or upgrade or transform their business processes.

For the new year, you can plan to use mobile technologies to improve your operations, engage customers better, and explore more revenue streams. Just please drop us a line and feel free to chat!

And see our last newsletter before the year ends, to get some ideas!

How “Pokémon Go” becomes a big hit, and why you should care

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“Pokémon Go”, launched only 1 week ago in US, Australia and New Zealand, has already taken the world by storm, and the number of users has already surpassed Tinder, and even Twitter by some measure.  It’s been closely followed by video game media outlets, the tech community, and mainstream media at large.

What is  “Pokémon Go”?

It’s a smartphone game that uses AR (Augmented Reality) technologies.  A player needs to catch and collect these cute monsters called Pokemon.  To discover and catch them, he/she needs to walk around the real world.  e.g. The player walks to the local town square, and the game, using smartphone’s GPS location, will know that the player is now at the town square, and will then show a monster, and allow the player to catch.

Why is it so popular?

– It’s different.   Compared to most other video games that you play sitting down and indoors, Pokémon Go let players go out and about to play outdoors on their smartphones.

– It’s easy to pick up, and easy to learn.   The gameplay is simple, and it’s free to download, therefore attracting players in different demographics.

– It’s real-world social.   Many players can go to the same town square, and will see the same monster.  You can gather your friends and go on a Pokemon-seeking trip together.  While at the same time, you can also choose to start playing and learning by yourself at your own pace.

– Nostalgia of a very strong and popular cartoon franchise.   Pokémon was very popular among kids 20 years ago, and now many of those kids are grown-ups who are eager to revisit this childhood favourite.

– The gameplay of treasure hunt is evergreen.   The game of exploring and treasure hunting is intuitive and fun, and children and adults alike can perfectly relate to it.

Why you should care

The success of the game, with its limited launch to only 3 countries, is already bringing in US$1 million revenue per day.   It’s an amazing case study of how to engage with your customers and your fans, reinvigorate your brand, and create a media phenomenon.

– Bring interactivity and fun to customers.  AR blends the real world with the virtual world, and this technology, with the right gameplay, can make any toy and any game more interesting.   Brands like Coca-Cola have also been using AR to enrich user engagement via interacting with their product packaging and printed advertising.   And, all these can be achieved without requiring anything additional:  if you have a smartphone, you have access to it.

– Enable new business models:  generate extra revenue via in-app purchases, virtual goods, and cross-selling.   Pokemon Go has already achieved US$1 mil / day of revenue, and you can learn from that too.  Using a toy example, a toy company can create a corresponding app that can be played together with a physical toy, enriching the gameplay.  At the same time, the smartphone app can offer virtual upgrades and digital goods via the app to create an additional revenue stream.  And, when the next toy launches, the toy company can alert the players to pre-order, to view the video trailer, etc.

– Establish a direct sales & marketing channel to your customers, via a mobile app.  
 The Pokemon franchise had video games, trading cards, toys, and other goods, but most of which will require distributing them via traditional distribution channels like toy stores and department stores.   If Pokemon Go were a board game, it would have probably needed to fall into a traditional toy distribution yearly cycle:   negotiating with retail chains as early as one year ago, in preparation for the pre-Christmas season.  But a mobile app can allow the Pokemon franchise, to launch new in-app products whenever it wants, and have direct reach to consumers instead of going through many stops in a distribution.  Such practice can also be applied to your brand too.

– Leverage your brand and IP. Pokémon is no doubt a valuable brand and franchise, and they are already continually creating value from their IP via traditional means like cartoons, merchandise, video games, etc.   But the Pokemon Go game wisely leveraged AR technology, to unlock even more value from their brand, created a category-defining mobile game.    It’s an endeavour of a huge scale, but other brands can also use the AR technology in a smaller scale.  One such example would be: allowing customers to take selfies of real-world products with virtual mascots & artwork, and share them on Facebook, Instagram or other social media.

The “Pokémon GO” phenomenon will be morphing, but remains interesting as it unfolds

It has just been the first week of this phenomenon, and it is already changing people’s behaviours in society:  e.g. traffic accidents, or crowds gather at your doorstep, or surge in visits to national parks.   As more of the mass market adopts, the game and its players will definitely continue to evolve, and there will be more interesting lessons to be learned.

How the Toy Industry Innovates with AR (Augmented Reality)

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AR is stepping onto the spotlight

AR (Augmented Reality) is the ability of inserting overlay physical and virtual information into the real word. With Augmented Reality, you can use your smartphone or tablet’s camera to see a layer of digital information on top of the physical environment.


Although the history of AR can be tracked back to 1990, AR successfully drew our attention until recent years when some big firms like Google and Facebook invested huge capital in developing AR. With the help of advanced AR technologies, the information about the real world surrounding a user can become interactive and digitally enhanced.
AR provides the toy industry with a revolution where toys can become more interactive, and users’ smartphones and tablets can become a part of the toys, enhancing toys’ functions without raising production cost. Also, via apps and in-app purchases of digital goods, players’ playing experience can be changed and furthered even after the purchase of the toys. The AR app can also becomes a direct conduit for the toy company to reach the customers.

Below is a survey of some examples of using Augmented Reality in toys.

Lego Fusion

Lego utilizes AR to embellish the building blocks and increases creativity and real-world play with the LEGO Fusion.

There are different kits and each of them has a specific set of LEGO bricks, a corresponding app, and a special “capture plate,” a small building plate with a printed design that allows the device’s camera to identify the size and colors of the LEGO bricks built onto it.


Lego Model Demonstration

Lego also uses AR to visualize the entire model, and in an animated way. It shows how the model will look like when built, so that customers can get a clear picture of what they are going to buy.


Dr. King Zoo AR App

This is an educational toy which targets children by providing an interactive and interesting way to learn more on animals and ecosystem. By scanning the flash cards designed by Dr. King Zoo with the mobile device’s camera, children can see 3D vivid animal on the mobile screen and they can take pictures with those virtual animals. More interestingly, cards can interact with each other if they are paired together in a logical combination, e.g. a virtual cow eating virtual grass.


Pokémon Go

Pokémon GO is different from the original Pokémon games of which players only focus on the screen. Pokémon GO players have to find and catch Pokémon that are lurking right in their very own cities. They will receive a notification on their smartphone or on a small Bluetooth-connected device called Pokémon GO Plus when a Pokémon character is nearby. Players know how far the characters are. They can hunt it down and add it to their collection. Pokémon GO also shows other players catch, trade, and battle their monsters in the real world by utilizing location/GPS information.



This is a digital fish tank toy produced by Takara Tomy, a renowned Japanese toy company. It makes use of AR and the screen of the smartphone to project an interactive image to create a new type of gameplay. Draw the cards and scan them with the camera of your phone, the fishes will be shown on the screen of the Picturerium. AR makes the fishes you drew swimming in the aquarium in a funny way. You can also scan food cards to feed your fishes and add your own photos to the faces of the creatures in the Picturerium, transforming yourself into different marine animals. aaeaaqaaaaaaaaunaaaajdk0ndm0njjhlwfmy2mtngvini1hnwfklwy2yjblmmfmmtlkmg

Toy Car RC

Toy Car RC starts by printing simple patterns with standard printers and placing those patterns throughout the play area. A special track will show up on the screen when you open the app and scan those patterns. This app unleashes children’s creativity by letting them to create their own tracks.



It’s a fierce battle of monsters by using a set of collectible cards in Augmented Reality. Images from the real world are mixed with virtual images to demonstrate how monsters battle with each other. The battle starts when cards enter the arena. The unique feature of AR makes this card game differ from the original card-only game by considering the placement of cards and the angle of attack as factors of damage level. It makes the game more interactive, interesting and challenging.


Can you think of any new applications of AR in toys? Let’s see the possibilities!

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