Augmented Baseball Cards

Total Immersion and trading cards company Topps have struck a partnership to augment Topps' baseball cards. Starting today (Monday), collectors that have special "Topps3DLive" baseball cards, can point their web camera at them, and see a three dimensional rendition of the player featured on the card. Moreover, they can use their keyboards in order to play some simple games featuring those 3D avatars.
The implementation seems to be quite quirky, you have to go to this site, download a plugin for your browser, choose the card that is in front of your camera (can't they identify it themselves), and only then you are able to experience the "magic". Anyway, it's supposed to be a breath of fresh air for a dying industry:

Topps needs to augment reality because baseball cards are struggling in the Internet age. Today’s collectors, most of whom are still boys, can just as easily and less expensively find the sports facts they want online. (source)

Unfortunately, there is no video I'm able to embed, so you'll have to go to the NY Times article, or to Total Immersion's site, to see how it looks like. If you happen to work for Total Immersion, please contact your PR division and explain them about the power of blogs. Nevertheless, we can update our scoreboard: Metaio: 1, Total Immersion: 2.

  • Engadget uploaded a video that I can legaly embed -

  • Blair of "Living in an Augmented Reality", has a nice piece on the subject.
    The problem with this concept is not the technology (although the graphics are pretty lame). Rather, it is the failure to seemingly even consider trying to answer the question I drill into my students: So What? Why would anyone care?


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