Augmented reality (AR) has seen its profile massively increase over the past year, with developments such as the launch of ARKit and the subsequent increase in the number of AR-enabled smartphone apps. WRLDS is a toy company that it looking to combine AR with outdoor play with the launch of its AR ‘smart’ bouncing ball.
The AR smart ball is about the size and weight of a tennis ball, made of durable foam which has an impressive bounce return rate. The ball contains a built-in chip which can control smartphone videogames and apps, letting children combine technology with outdoor play.
“We wanted to bridge the gap between the two ‘wrlds’ we love: gaming and being outdoors,” said WRLDS co-founder and CEO Felix von Heland. “The WRLDS ball is ideal for a range of games — from simple hand/eye coordination games to sports games, social games and new takes on augmented reality games. Just imagine playing Pokémon GO and actually throwing a real ball at the Pokémon rather than just staring at the screen.”
Inside the smart ball is an accelerometer which records movement, impact and g-force, along with an antenna, a semi-conductor chip and an encapsulated CPU which can communicate wth smartphones or tablets using Bluetooth.
The first WRLDS smart ball features a character called ‘The Water Soul’ who will later be joined by additional characters called the Fire, Earth and Wind souls. These characters will have different characteristics and personalities, which will feature as part of the AR videogames made available through the WRLDS platform.
“The WRLDS team is looking to leverage mobile gaming as the solution to today’s tweens getting too much screen time and not enough physical activity,” added von Heland. “One of our core missions as a company is to get kids outside moving around. This smart ball is the first in a line of toys that we hope will inspire players to be more active and healthy.”
The smart ball is planned to be released with a minimum of four free videogames, which will be made available through the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. The AR smart ball is planned to release through the WRLDS website some time in September 2018, and will cost $39.99 (USD).
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