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Picture the possibilities with 3D Lego animations

Lego's Digital Box display units use 3D augmented reality to illustrate what finished Lego kits will look like. The AR displays will be set up in Lego stores worldwide.


Having trouble picturing what that Lego monster castle/spaceship/robot will look like when assembled? Lego is rolling out augmented-reality store displays that show shoppers, in 3D animation, what a completed kit will look like. The move follows other toy makers bringing AR to action figures and baseball cards. I'm waiting for cereal boxes in my supermarket to start spewing 3D cornflakes.

The Danish toy giant, known for cool stuff like Mindstorms robot kits and wacky apps like the Lego-illustrated Bible, is currently installing the Digital Box (PDF) displays in its stores worldwide.

When customers hold a box up to the display, a screen shows a superimposed animation of the competed kit over the live video. You can see intricate kit details on the screen.

Some of the animations even feature little Lego men moving around inside the virtual-reality kits and acting cute.

Lego teamed up with Munich, Germany-based AR software developer Metaio to produce the displays, which have been tested since 2008. Metaio's Unifeye Design platform was used for the AR.

Too bad the Digital Box AR won't work at home, where kids will have to play with regular old reality and plastic bricks.