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Augmented reality brings jigsaw puzzles to life


April 5, 2012

German puzzle maker Ravensburger has created four new jigsaw puzzles which can be brought to life using an app for the iPhone or iPad 2

German puzzle maker Ravensburger has created four new jigsaw puzzles which can be brought to life using an app for the iPhone or iPad 2

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For me, the satisfaction of completing a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle is relatively short-lived. True that I may have managed to bring together thousands of tiny colored sweets in one poster-sized mass of loveliness, or worked my way through miles and miles of blue sky without having a nervous breakdown – but what now? Germany's Ravensburger has the answer in the form of augmented reality. The company has released four puzzles that, upon completion, can be transformed into jaw-dropping video animation and sound effects on an iPhone or iPad via a free-to-download app.

The enhancement of the world around us through augmented reality is a firm favorite here at Gizmag, where we've seen it used to bring an extra element to fashion shows, add something special to mobile gaming, and even bring Terminator-like vision enhancements closer to reality. Now, Ravensburger has added digital interaction to four 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles depicting such things as a rooftop view of Paris or a mass of creatures in an undersea world.

Where once we would have had to use our imaginations to bring such scenes to life, the new augmented reality puzzles just need dissectologists to download a free app onto an iPhone or iPad 2 and point the device camera at the completed puzzle. The iDevice user can then take a virtual 360 degree tour of Paris, watch sea creatures swim around and play a bonus game, go on an animated photo safari in Africa, or make their very own Norwegian snow globe onscreen.

The Augmented Reality Puzzles are available now in Europe for €14.99 (about US$20), with a Q3 release scheduled for the U.S.

Sources: Ravensburger, App Store

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag. All articles by Paul Ridden

Meh. Put a QR code on each puzzle piece, and show the video WHILE YOU'RE ASSEMBLING the puzzle. Now that'd make me pay attention. This is just a lame publicity stunt by a company that hasn't had a creative idea for decades.


How about an app that can take a picture of the puzzle off the box then use image recognition to point out which pieces on the table will fit the empty spots?

It wouldn't be too useful for large areas of near uniform color or for puzzles that are of things like a mass of Skittles or coffee beans, and many puzzles crop the box art so it doesn't show the entire puzzle - but it would be a help with the majority of puzzles.

Gregg Eshelman
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