When I was young, I used to sneak into my mom’s room, climb up onto her vanity and pucker up to smear on her red lipstick, which managed to travel past my lips onto my face and hands. For a young girl, trying on a grown-up’s makeup is a mess, but it’s also a rite of passage.
Fortunately, Mattel has managed to transform this traditional child play into something clean and innovative: the Barbie Digital Makeover Mirror. This new interactive toy was unveiled at Matel’s 2013 lineup of new toys this week at the 110th American International Toy Fair.
By using an iPad and a vanity frame, the mirror allows girls to "try on" eye shadow, lipstick and glitter, without the mess. The mirror uses facial tracking technology to transform an iPad into a digital mirror that invites girls to select options like eye shadow, lipstick, color, and glitter to apply to the girl’s live image on the device’s screen.
The user simply holds a makeup wand and then dips it into pretend makeup. Using augmented reality and photo facial recognition, the makeup then appears on the user's face in the mirror. Users get to try on, wipe off and experiment with different colors, and if they find a makeover that comes out well, they can save it to a scrapbook or share it on Facebook.
Additionally, Mattel is leveraging augmented reality to enable girls to scan labels in each room of the new Disney Princess Ultimate Dream Castle using an iOS device and the Disney Magic Mirror Augmented Reality app for an interactive experience.
Image via Engadget.com
This year, mobile is playing a key role in extending successful franchises such as Barbie and Disney Princess via interactive play. In fact according to Brennan Hayden, executive vice president and COO at WDA, extending popular toy franchises into mobile may be a double-edged sword.
“On the one hand, mobile devices play such a big role in people’s lives, it only makes sense to integrate consumer products of all types with that experience. And, on the other hand, the stand-alone toy experience may pale in comparison to the integrated experience and therefore actually hurt demand,” he explained.
Today, Mattel is focused on extending engagement for its popular franchises through innovative toys and real-world experiences. One way it is realizing these goals is by leveraging iOS devices as a way to animate and expand play, as well as stimulate a child’s development in new ways.
While evidence suggests children are picking up iPads and mobile devices and intuitively knowing how to use them, the toy industry is still in the early stages of figuring out to leverage mobile technology for toy creation.
Mittel’s Barbie Digital Makeover Mirror will go on sale this August for $69.99.
Edited by Jamie Epstein