EyePet: augmented reality game for Playstation 3

We used to be happy with a tamagotchi.

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We used to be happy with a small keychain holding a tamagotchi, but that won’t happen again. From now on we can own a virtual pet that actually looks and moves like a pet. Sony is currently developing EyePet, an augmented reality virtual pet. I can explain what I want, but just watch the video and be amazed.

EYEPET from Michele Bertocchi on Vimeo.

Isn’t it great? Of course it’s a promotional video, so we have to wait if it’s really this cool. But for now: I’m pretty impressed. The reaction time looks good and the facial expressions of the monkey look fabulous. I can really imagine that EyePet can help children to learn and experiment with social behaviour. Would it be possible to reflect situations on the child’s relationship with the pet? Like neglect, sadness, aggression… Interesting to see what the effects would be.

Thanks to the EyeToy we finally have a commercial use for augmented reality, merging the digital and physical world in an interactive experience. I think this interactivity could help child development. I wonder what Sony is doing with this aspect…. Are they using didactics?

Unfortunately there is also bad news: the game is scheduled to release in Q4 2009. Hmmmm.

Jeroen van Geel

Jeroen van Geel is founder/chief kahuna of Johnny Holland and the interaction director at Fabrique [brands, design & interaction], a Dutch multidisciplinary design agency. You can follow him on Twitter via @jeroenvangeel.

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