Now my son can take photos with his favorite superhero anywhere, any time.
So long as he is wearing the BANDAI T shirt, that is.
The app is called NEXTPETS (pronounced "Nex-T-pets") and is available both for iOS 5 or later and Android.
Once the app is launched, focusing on the print triggers sound and a CG image (as well as the small print for copyright) to appear on the screen. The result is as seen here and as explained on the BANDAI site.
One thing to remember is that the CG image is only visible in the correct relative size to the child, so you cannot really get close-ups. The child must fit into the screen with the superhero being his correct assumed height. (I did NOT get this right the first time as my son wanted a close-up of himself with the hero, and all we got was the sound and the copyright text. No hero...! I had to call BANDAI the following day after a thousand promises to my son that Mama will get it right the next day. I wish they had put this information on the label!And the video on how to use NEXTPETS is a bit misleading, too, I reckon.)
After a quick search, I learned that this is brand new technology, just announced on 20 December 2012, and the products hit the market on 26 January.
I guess it was pure luck that we happened to be shopping for school clothes in preparation for my twins starting primary school and the latest BANDAI gadget T shirt was available in the very same section of the store. (It must be popular because there were two colours and only two garments per colourway was available.)
The hero gadgets business is serious business here, and I guess everywhere that there are kids.
But here in Japan, we are having less and less children.
Just imagine if this technology was used to let bandies look like they are jamming with Mick Jagger or a Little Monster got to pose with Lady Gaga herself?
According to the global music study report by Music Matters + Synovate on Music Consumption in the Digital Age, "One Third of Americans and Brits would GIVE ANYTHING to meet their favourite artists/band" - well, how about buying NEXTPETS "infused" printed T shirts at the concert (the survey results say 19% of Ozzies, 18% of British, 17% of Spanish, and 16% of Americans LOVE buying a band's clothing), downloading the app, and posing?
How would that fare in this day and age where SNS rules?
There is talk in the music industry that 360-degree campaigning is the only future for the music industry since consumers are less and less interested in paying for a static image on a CD jacket and physical media to own. I reckon this COULD be the next NEXT thing in music!
Note: If anyone from BANDAI is reading this, please remember you read this here, first!
And if BANDAI ever teams up with SONY or VICTOR here, I will definitely write about it!