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As we’ve said before, the PlayStation 4’s PlayStation Camera is a woefully underused device. Gamers who enjoy streaming footage of the games they play often use their cameras to capture their own expressions and add real-time commentary, and upcoming virtual reality headset Project Morpheus will make use of the unit to provide additional head tracking, but otherwise it gets relatively little love.

Fortunately, Sony Japan looks to be working on content that will inspire a few more PlayStation 4 owners to plug in their cameras. In two videos released last week, Sony staff show off their experiments with augmented reality, which combines real-world footage with computer-generated images that respond to a number of stimuli. These may only be tech demos, but the sight of a miniature T-rex hiding in the darkness, a man decanting water (complete with rubber duck!) between two virtual boxes, and even a short performance from a tiny Hatsune Miku on the living room rug left us thirsty for more.

Sony has been toying with AR for some time now, releasing child-centred products like WonderBook, which allows users to cast magical spells and see creatures from the likes of the Harry Potter universe leap from its pages, and of course The Playroom mini games which come pre-installed on every PlayStation 4 console.

▼ Wonderbook’s “Book of Spells” turns your controller into a wand

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Otherwise, though, both the PS3’s PlayStation Eye and PS4’s PlayStation Camera simply sit around gathering dust, and few software developers feel inspired to create content for them.

▼ See? Dusty.


But two new videos from PlayStation Japan suggest that Sony is hoping to make a little more of its camera add-on.

The first video shows how by using the PlayStation Camera, even real-world objects can be transformed into something completely different when viewed on-screen.

Here, a lab coat-clad technician enters an area designed to look like a typical living room.

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He then picks up what appear to be a couple of seven-inch tablets and stands in front of the PlayStation Camera.

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When he holds the tablets up, however, they suddenly transform into three-dimensional boxes, one containing water and a rubber duck that slosh back and forth in real-time as the young man moves his hands.

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He then goes on to pour the virtual water from one container into the other, even spilling a little as he does.

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And back again…

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Then, because there’s always ‘that guy’ who wants to see what happens when you don’t play by the rules, the technician shows that it’s even possible to pour the water, duck and all, straight onto the floor.

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Here’s the full video:

The second demo, meanwhile, shows how “dynamic lighting” can be used to affect how objects appear on the TV screen and even alter their behaviour.

“There’s something hiding in the darkness”, the subtitle tells us.

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Yup, it’s a mini dinosaur! The shadow it casts even changes as the player moves the light source around it.

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Changing the colour of the light – in this case by placing a coloured card in front of the light source – changes the creature’s behaviour, and the ground beneath its feet begins to erupt and catch fire.

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Then, none other than Hatsune Miku appears in the middle of the living room. She stands motionless at first…

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But by shining light directly onto her, she springs to life, bursting into song and dancing.

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These are, of course, mere tech demos, and there’s no guarantee that they’ll be turned into full games or even downloadable content, but we have to admit that we’re intrigued to see what they’ll come up with next. For younger players and those who are not comfortable with standard controllers, the implementation of real-world objects in particular could prove to be a lot of fun and translate into some entertaining family oriented gaming experiences.

Oh, who are we kidding? We want to make Miku dance in our living room, and we don’t care if we do it alone, so hurry up Sony Japan and get this on the PlayStation Store!

Source: YouTube PlayStation Japan
Videos/screenshots: 1, 2