Topps releases mind-bending webcam hologram baseball cards

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Allow me to quote Keanu Reeves in the Matrix and Joey Lawrence in every episode of Blossom:

“Whoa.”

Remember baseball cards? Topps just released new baseball cards that, when placed in front of a webcam, create 3D characters of the players on the card. It’s not just animation, either. You can actually control the players and play simple mini games.

For example, pitchers throw a ball at a target when you press a certain button and outfielders can be shimmied left or right to camp out under virtual fly balls. Users simply have to have a webcam and the 3D players will show up on the computer screen.

The platform is called Topps 3D Live and stars 32 MLB players so far. Cards will be found “in every pack of Topps 2009 Baseball Series 1 pack and also in packs of the new Topps Attax baseball card game.” Users go to ToppsTown.com to play.

Check out the above video for a demonstration of everything in action. The 3D stuff comes from Total Immersion, “the global reader in augmented reality,” according to the following press release:

Topps Launches Game-Changer For Baseball Cards: Players Spring to Digital Life on ‘Topps 3D Live’ Trading Cards, Driven Home by Total Immersion’s Augmented Reality

Kids and Collectors Play Ball with the Pros at ToppsTown.com in First Augmented Reality Mass Market Consumer Product

New York and Los Angeles (PRWEB) March 9, 2009 — Want to swing for the fences like Ryan Howard? Then starting today, think desktop, not diamond — and think baseball cards, not homeplate.

The Topps Company and Total Immersion today announced the introduction of “Topps 3D Live” baseball trading cards featuring stars who come to play at www.toppstown.com, the company’s virtual sports community.

Bringing the Phillies slugger and 32 other top MLB stars to life is Total Immersion (www.t-immersion.com), the global leader in augmented reality (AR). Starting today, fans can control the action as players magically emerge from the card (not the dugout) to pitch, bat and catch their way around the desktop — digitally.

For Topps, the leading creator and marketer of sports and related cards, augmented reality baseball cards mark a groundbreaking enhancement to a beloved American classic, delivering an unprecedented level of interactivity for kids, fans and collectors as baseball cards experience the biggest innovation in its 140-year history.

For Total Immersion, Topps 3D Live trading cards represent the company’s first consumer product available commercially, introducing a broad audience to augmented reality, an interactive experience where virtual components are dynamically merged into a live video stream in real time.

Interactive code cards can be found in every pack of Topps 2009 Baseball Series 1 pack and also in packs of the new Topps Attax baseball card game. Fans log on to www.toppstown.com, enter the Topps 3D Live section and select the player on the code card. Once the player is selected and the program is initialized, it’s game on! By simply holding the card under a standard webcam, the player magically pops up from the card onscreen and springs to life. Players can then be rotated around, and fans can control the action with just a keystroke or two as it unfolds on the desktop.

“Our vision to transform Topps into a sports media company is well underway,” said Michael Eisner, founder of The Torante Company, which owns The Topps Company. “With the exciting launch of Topps 3D Live, children and adult collectors alike will get to experience something they’ve only dreamed about, watching their favorite players come to digital life right before their eyes. With the help of our innovative partner Total Immersion and its use of augmented reality, the physical baseball trading card is now just the beginning of the experience.”

“Here we have an American icon, the baseball card, which has been known, loved and essentially unchanged since 1869,” said Bruno Uzzan, CEO, Total Immersion. “Marrying augmented reality to the mainstay consumer product of the national pastime just feels right. Fans and collectors have always felt an emotional connection to their cards, wanting to get up-close-and-personal with their favorite players. Now, with ‘Topps 3D Live,’ that relationship enters an entirely different dimension.

“Not only can they see these athletes in 3D but they can bring them into their homes, have the players walk around their desks, and even play a game of catch,” Uzzan said. “Augmented reality gives virtually any product, the means to come alive and enthrall the consumer, driving sales and fostering brand loyalty. This kind of engagement — getting the consumer into the action — is what AR delivers consistently, across the board.”

“With 3D Live, Topps is continuing its commitment to innovation,” said Steve Grimes, Chief Digital Officer, Topps. “This exciting new technology is just one of several new things at ToppsTown.com. In addition to seeing their favorite players come to life, kids can now battle each other with Topps Attax, the new multiplayer baseball card game, collect and trade digital cards, furnish their clubhouse and backyard, get live scores and play fantasy-style games.”

Topps 3D Live augmented reality baseball trading cards offer the newest adventure at Topps Town, an online sports community developed just for kids. The site was unveiled in June 2008 as part of the iconic company’s plans to expand into the digital space.

Through its patented D’Fusion® technology, Total Immersion blurs the line between the virtual world and the real world by integrating real-time interactive 3D graphic into a live video stream. The Topps launch coincides with the introduction of Total Immersion’s browser-based version of D’Fusion, which enables users to seamlessly run the software through a standard web browser. D’Fusion now operates under Internet Explorer versions 6.0 and higher and Firefox 2.0 and higher, with MacOS/Safari support scheduled for early in Q2.

About The Topps Company, Inc.
Founded in 1938, Topps (www.topps.com) is a leading creator and marketer of sports and related cards, entertainment products, and distinctive confectionery. Topps entertainment products include Major League Baseball, NFL, NBA and other trading cards, sticker album collections, and collectible games. The company’s confectionery brands include “Bazooka” bubble gum, “Ring Pop,” “Push Pop,” “Baby Bottle Pop,” and “Juicy Drop Pop” lollipops. In June 2008, Topps unveiled Topps Town (www.toppstown.com), the first online virtual sports community for kids, bringing together the popularity of trading cards with the exploding world of web-based social networking.

About Total Immersion
Total Immersion (www.t-immersion.com) is the global leader in augmented reality. Through its patented D’Fusion® technology, Total Immersion blurs the line between the virtual world and the real world by integrating real time interactive 3D graphics into a live video stream. Leading the augmented reality category since 1999, the company maintains a presence in Europe and the U.S., and supports a network of partners worldwide.

To download a video of Topps 3D Live
in action, please visit: https://rcpt.yousendit.com/661252471/28cf897bf6b405d4d9bed93c0d477f8b.

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