The Microsoft Hololens
When Microsoft announced Windows 10 they also announced a new project called Hololens. It's a lightweight Virtual Reality (VR) headset. Instead of a fully immersive VR world commonly seen in movies, the Hololens is a utility system for interacting with 3D objects in the real world. In other words, instead of a 360 degree virtual world where everything is a virtual 3D object, the Hololens overlaps 3D objects on top of real world objects.
It's got a Heads Up Display (HUD) like interface. With the built-in sensors the Hololens can detect movement and gestures. Overlapping virtual images over real-world objects, like a table or wall, the system can scale the 3D item so it looks smaller when it's distant, detect collision when it "impacts" a physical thing. Detecting your gestures it can interact with you. You can "touch" objects, place them, arrange them, manipulate them.
The Microsoft video demo shows the Hololens being used in games, generic information, and entertainment settings. But think of this more than what is shown in the demos. How might a Hololens be used with toy collecting?
Hololens and Toy Collecting
So how might all this virtual world stuff benefit toy collecting. Some of the obvious ideas might be in the form of an info website. Something like YoJoe or 3D Joes where figures and vehicles of a toy line exist with lots of data on each. Having a VR representation of version 1 Cobra Commander on a desk where you can lift it, move the arms and turn the head might be one way.
Certainly it would be interesting to see figure reviews with an extension for interacting with the VR figure. A toy website might provide a shareable link where it's "try before you buy."
DioWarriors has a huge collection of CAD models, all are already 3D objects. The various props -- crates, tables, even the vehicles and playsets -- can become a Hololens VR object. In this scenario a user can visit the DioWarriors Store and select an object for viewing. Already in 1:18 scale, take the object from the air, place it on a table, or in the user's own toy vehicle.
Maybe the user has a playset, a Terrordrome, let's say, and he selects a group of objects. Placing them in, on, or around the Terrordrome the user gets to see how those props might be used in his collection.
An Action Figure with armor could be displayed with options to swap the armor with others. How does a figure look with this head? With this torso? With this body armor, or that body armor? With this backpack or that backpack? Parts can be swapped and tried. When done simply virtually click the checkout button.
Such a system might be great for casters where you can take one of your own Action Figures without a head, go to a caster's store site and Hololens a VR head over the figure you have in-hand.
How about build a virtual playset with virtual props? Populated by virtual Action Figures? Saved on the company's cloud service. A virtual model railroad or even a SimCity, but in various scales. Or perhaps scales would not be important. This might be fun as it might even open a way to collect VR objects. A DioWarriors VR base as large as can be imagined, with DioWarrior props. Toy companies could work with other toy companies in virtual collaborations making a virtual playset. Example: a DioWarriors VR playset with VR figures from Boss Fight Studio or even Hasbro. Buy the figures, buy the playsets, build it in real life, or keep a subscription for it to be saved online.
For design studios like Boss Fight Studio, collaboration between a designer and a customer could be done virtually, with the 3D model being manipulated by both parties over a virtual session. Imagine if it was between a factory in China and a client in the US.
Those who are handicap could make use of the system too. Maybe the toy comes to the person. But this is an area I'm sure would be quite huge, but it's not my expertise.
Hybrid toys, like Skylanders, have become popular -- a mix of a physical figure interacting with a video game. If a child doesn't have access to a safe yard to play outdoors with small action figures that have parts that can get lost, the only real option is playing indoors. But indoors means less space and more clutter. So parents buy less for their kids: "you already have that, you don't need another" type of situation develops.
A virtual playground where kids get together to play with their Action Figures with their friends. It could be possible too to generate an immersive Skylanders-like world. In any case, a virtual area in a familiar, real world room, with children playing with virtual toys could trigger a whole new way to play.
DioWarriors and the Hololens
Whatever comes of this will be quite interesting to involved with. At DioWarriors we are making moves to get involved with the Microsoft Hololens. The future of toy collecting is indeed exciting.
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