Lego’s Eight Year Old Digital Box is Still Cutting Edge AR

Over the weekend I went to the Lego store in downtown San Francisco and checked out one of the best mainstream uses of Augmented Reality I’ve ever seen. Turns out Lego’s “Digital Box” has been around since 2009, at least. But it’s still cool:

(video via GQTravelTV youtube channel)

Pluck a set off a shelf, hold it up in front of the kiosk’s webcam, and watch the virtual Legos inside of the box self-assemble and run through some basic animations onscreen. Geek that I am, I spotted the kiosk immediately and started messing around with it. My two kids, age four and eight, quickly became interested, and soon enough a small crowd had gravitated to the display to interact with it.

I had no idea that Digital Box has been a thing for almost a decade now. I think that speaks to a few things:

• AR is still in early, early days, in terms of both technology and awareness.

• Creativity (content) is more valuable than raw technology.

• Neat as it is, AR is nowhere near mainstream, and there’s literally no good reason for Lego to update the Digital Box concept.

Yet.