PlayFusion saw an opportunity to pioneer experiences that bring toys to life, by bringing together the best of hardware, software, and augmented reality. This new world of mixed media offers fully-connected play, where the digital and physical merge into one, and where toys, accessories, and on-screen actions can affect each other seamlessly. For Mindtribe, this was an exciting project that tested the limits of wireless communication, sensors, and miniaturized electronics.
Mindtribe was tasked with creating a system for action figures and accessories to interact with video games, effectively matching toy play with on-screen play. A key goal was the concept of the digital affecting the physical (e.g. character enchants sword in game and physical sword accessory lights up) and vice-versa (e.g. sword accessory is put into action figure’s hand and shows up inside the game).
Mindtribe’s first focus was to create prototype action figures, accessories, and an app that all interact together reliably. This was followed by a technical investigation into solutions for high-volume low-cost manufacturing, as well as feasibility of future mixed media concepts.
Mindtribe researched and developed a system architecture that enabled wireless connectivity, motion sensing, and matched behaviors between an iPad game and toys. Our team built working prototypes with production-like, painted character forms, integrated communication and sensing, and carefully designed wire routing through fully articulated joints.
Mindtribe also investigated the landscape of wireless communication and sensor options to make recommendations for production. Lastly, Mindtribe wrote firmware for the toys and created an API, so they could communicate with the iOS app and store persistent toy data.
PlayFusion used the prototypes and code for user testing and investor demos, leading to their launch partnership with a major toymaker.
There hasn't been any meaningful innovation in this category in years. We have done something entirely innovative and unique, beyond just toys-to-life.— Mark Gerhard, Co-Founder & CEO
Rapid Experiential Prototyping, Focused Engineering Support, End-to-End Development, Advanced Technology to Product
Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Embedded Software Development, Application Software Development, Agile Project Management