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Japanese Toy Puts Projection Mapping Spectacles In The Palm Of Your Hand

A lo-fi handheld robot might be the future of projection mapping.
March 26, 2014, 3:50pm

In the belly of the wealthy Odaiba district in Tokyo, Japan, a giant Gundam robot towered over the citizenry for three days, brought to life by cutting edge projection mapping technology and bringing joy and wonder to all who saw it. The robot had to move on, but its performances promoted a crazy new device which—as long as you have a smartphone—puts the magic of projection mapping in your hands.

This handheld projection mapping contraption, dubbed HAKO VISION by the Bandai toy comapny, isn't some complex computer or revolutionary new material. It's a small cardboard box, equipped with nothing more than a plastic lens, a tiny white sculpture, a stick of gum, and a QR code that links to a YouTube video. After loading the video, simply place your phone on top of the box and watch it come alive with breathtaking colors and accompanying jams.

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Both the giant robot display and its cardboard box likeness are examples of the success projection mapping has earned in Japan. Festivals and concerts featuring these intricate laser shows attract giant, enthralled audiences all over the island nation.

A mini version of the stunning Gundam robot tour is now available in HAKO VISION for just under $10 from Amazon Japan. You can seen the magic at work on a scale model of a mansion as it's lit up with cascading rainbows below. We can't wait to see who else will hop on the handheld, lo-fi projection mapping train—maybe we'll finally get that Gundam vs. Transformers battle royale we've always wanted.