Mattel’s ‘Avatar’ Toys Have High-Tech Twist

Augmented reality is a key feature of Mattel’s line of toys supporting the theatrical release of Twentieth Century Fox’s Avatar in December 2009.

“The development of our Avatar toy line with the integration of the augmented reality technology marks an entirely new level of innovation in toys,” said Doug Wadleigh, vice president for boys’ action play marketing, Mattel. “Boys will be able to play with the Avatar figures and vehicles in ways that previously could only be imagined.”

Due in October, the line of action figures, vehicles and creatures developed in partnership with Twentieth Century Fox Licensing & Merchandising, marks the first time augmented reality has been featured in a mainstream consumer product.

Each action figure, vehicle and creature will come with a 3-D Web tag, called an i-TAG, which consumers can “scan” using a home computer’s Webcam. Scanning the i-TAG will reveal special content onscreen unique to the corresponding product. Exact content varies for each item, but could include biographical information, additional images and animated models of the figures. When the i-TAG for deluxe figures, vehicles or creatures are placed under a Webcam, animated 3-D models will “come alive” through engaging, evading or defending moves. Place two i-TAGs from the “Battle Pack” together and the 3-D images will interact with each other.

The i-TAG technology was developed by Total Immersion, the global leader in augmented reality. Total Immersion’s patented augmented reality technology integrates real time interactive 3-D graphics into live video. Once the object is recognized by the Webcam, the product comes to life on screen.

Nielsen Business Media