Disney’s Playmation Makes Combines Physical Play With High-Tech Adventures

A child plays with the Repulsor, part of the Playmation Marvel's Avengers starter pack.  GearFriday, May 15, 2015 in Encino, Calif. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Invision for Disney/AP Images)

A child plays with the Repulsor Gear, part of the Playmation Marvel’s Avengers starter pack. GearFriday, May 15, 2015 in Encino, Calif. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Invision for Disney/AP Images)

The Walt Disney Company has always sought to innovate the way stories are told and experienced, and the twenty-first century is no exception. In its quest to continue pushing the boundaries of storytelling, the company is introducing Playmation, a new technology that reinvents classic, make believe play.

Disney Consumer Products describes Playmation as “the next step in the evolution of play, where digital gets physical and imagination becomes real.” The system combines wearables for kids that interact with smart toys.

According to Disney, parents wanted kids to move around more, and Playmation is an answer to their plea. Like a real life video game, kids need to get moving as Jedi, Avengers, and Princesses if they want to defeat the bad guys and unlock new content.

Image created with Imgur meme generator. imgur.com/memegen

Image created with Imgur meme generator. imgur.com/memegen

“Innovation and creativity are the driving forces behind Disney, and our goal is to inspire children to unleash the power of their imaginations through the stories we tell and the experiences we create,” stated Leslie Ferraro, president of Disney Consumer Products, in a press release. “With Playmation, we’re taking the next step in that tradition – bringing the worlds of play, storytelling, and technology together – in a new and very exciting way.”

The Playmation line is a collaboration with Hasbro. The first line to be released is Marvel’s Avengers, with gear hitting stores this October (in time for the Christmas season of course with a price tag of $119.99)

Children (and adults) will first be able to get their hands in an Iron Man repulsor glove and follow Jarvis’ cue to defeat a classic villain. Star Wars and Frozen Playmation lines are also in the works for 2016 and 2017.

Continuing the high-tech tradition

Playmation doesn’t come too much as surprise because it draws upon the merging of art and science that Disney has always strived for. Recently, the company added the Magic Band to their Walt Disney World experience, which was also dreamed up by a team of technologists, Imagineers and storytellers from across Disney. Tomorrowland, which is in theaters, is also the first Dolby Vision theatrical release.

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Coming Soon: Apps That Let Kids Design And 3D-Print Toys

Image courtesy of Creative Tools.

Image courtesy of Creative Tools.

Kids have a new way to express their creativity, thanks to a partnership between Mattel and Autodesk. Soon, kids and kids-at-heart will be able to use a series of apps to customize toys and then 3D-print them.

The goal of the partnership is to provide a new immersive experience by combining physical toys with digital adventures, with the goal of pushing the boundaries of creative play. The initiative also wants kids to learn while they play and customize.

The first in a series of new apps and an online hub for Mattel’s 3D-printing initiatives are scheduled to launch in the second half of 2015, but both companies are keeping mum on the details. Autodesk revealed that more information will come out on a later date.

Mattel Is Updating A Childhood Classic

The new View-master takes it style cues from the original.

The new View-master takes it style cues from the original.

Mattel, the infamous toy company, is reinventing a classic, the view-master. Using a smartphone app and their dock, the new version of the old toy will allow users to experience places and icons in 360 degrees.

The device, which maintains the look of the original view-master, holds a smartphone that can display images in augmented reality onto their white dock. Viewers will be able to see the traditional view-master images re-imagined in 3D, in addition to new ones, like moving dinosaurs or a rocket in space. Mattel described this as letting users take “field trips” from the comfort of your own home… Or anywhere really.

Mattel didn’t come up with the technology all on their own; the device relies on Google Cardboard to make the experiences come to life. Google Cardboard is a cheap, DIY virtual reality headset device.

The new view-master starter kit will be available this fall for a surprisingly reasonable price of $29.99. Although extra environments and experiences will be extra.