Thursday, 25 July 2013

LOOKSI Pups Augmented Reality Pet

LOOKSI Pups is a new twist on the popular virtual and electronic pets category of toys. It's a cute puppy that appears in virtual 3D when you place an iPhone or iPod into a kennel.

LOOKSI Pups cleverly uses angled acrylic mirrors to create the augmented reality effect of a miniature puppy inside its kennel. There are openings on the front and one side of the kennel so that the puppy can be viewed from different angles to add to the effect.

There's currently a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign running to create the first batch of these 3D virtual pets.

Your phone slots into a tray that fits the iPhone or iPod device. The tray then fits into the kennel - this looks like it secures the phone well which is very important if kids are borrowing a parent's phone or are lucky enough to own their own device. 

There's more to LOOKISI Pups than just the neat trick of making the 3D puppy appear. The app that accompanies the toy allows owners to take care of their pet in a Tamagotchi-style play pattern.

There are voice commands to get the puppy to perform actions and tricks. Kids can choose the breed of their puppy and dress it up (hopefully sparing the real family pet from such indignities.)

They can also play games with their pup. The tilt sensor of the smart device is used to control the motion of the puppy as he moves through a game. I can definitely see this appealing to kids.

One feature that I can see kids really enjoying is that if you get two LOOKSI Pups together they can go visiting in each others' kennels.

You can see more of the play patterns in the promotional video for the toy:

The toy is aimed at kids, mostly girls, aged 4-12. There's also a dinosaur in a crate version in development (now that would be popular around here!)

The LOOKSI Pups kennel is a reward in the Kickstarter campaign starting with a pledge of £15 / $23 for the early bird version with free world shipping. You even get stickers to customize the kennel. The first units are planned to ship in October 2013.

It's less expensive than robotic pet puppies like Zoomer and Teksta / Tekno, and an alternative to going with the crowd with a Furby BOOM.

The iOS app that accompanies the toy is available for free to download from iTunes. There's already a beta version of the app that you can try out.

Pledge: LOOKSI Pups Kennel
Download: LOOKSI Pups App

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