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Disney games console patent promises 3D augmented reality

The House of Mouse has applied for a patent for a handheld games console that can interact with your toys -- could Apple be involved?

Disney previously let slip it was working on a games console, and now it's logged a patent application to back up those claims.

The patent concerns a device capable of capturing a real scene and then augmenting it, rather like the Nintendo 3DS. This would involve taking a picture of a coffee mug, say, and then animating it. Break out all your old toys -- it looks like Toy Story could be about to be made real.

The console even looks like the 3DS, with a flip-open design and dual screens. I'm not sure how Nintendo will respond to that, though it is just a sketch at the moment, so the finished version could be completely different. Mickey Mouse ears, anyone?

A Disney exec previously mentioned the console would be called the Toy Box, and would have "extensive mobile and online applications". Pixar and Disney characters would also be involved, and would interact with each other, according to Disney Interactive co-president John Pleasants.

Patently Apple, which spotted Disney's application (and has much better images than the one I managed to grab), speculates that Tim Cook and co could be involved. Apple and Disney have danced before, thanks to Steve Jobs' involvement with Pixar. Both share a similar family-friendly approach, and the App Store has become a major player in the games industry. Though exactly how Apple could be involved is anyone's guess.

CES is too soon for a big unveil, in my opinion, so I reckon we'll have to wait until E3 in June for the first official mention of the device. As long as it can play Castle of Illusion, I'll be happy.

Would you buy a Disney console? What would it need to do to stand out? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.