LAS VEGAS, CES 2013 – Back when I was a kid, I had all kinds of Fisher-Price toys I loved playing with. But I don’t think I remember anything quite as magic as Fisher-Price’s new line of Apptivity sets for preschoolers that combine child-safe cases and toy figures with slick augmented-reality apps (though my little Classic Xylophone came close).
Once an iPad is safe within the Imaginext Apptivity Fortress, kids can control the set’s plastic action-figure knight as he clashes with virtual trolls, flies virtual dragons and fires the set’s real plastic canon at virtual enemies charging the fort. The iPad’s screen recognizes the plastic knight as it moves on top of the screen and reacts to it.
The Create & Learn Case for iPad lacked dragons and knights, but managed to seem even more magical. That’s because it employs a surprisingly slick and smooth augmented-reality engine to let kids interact virtually with a set of alphabet cards that comes with the set. Fisher-Price designed the case, once set up, to sit at the perfect angle to create the optical illusion.
The Imaginext Apptivity Fortress works is aimed at kids aged 3-7, and will be available for $40, with a set of extra figures running $10. The Create & Learn Case for iPad is $40 and suitable for kids 3 years or older. Both will be available in the fall and require free apps (that haven’t hit the app store yet).