Camatte Vision: Seeing the augmented reality of Toyota Design
Within the 2015 Tokyo Toy Show, at the end of June, Toyota displayed the fourth episode in its Camatte series of exploratory concept vehicles. This year’s story was called Hajime (begin) and was a miniature copy of the car design process. It enabled children (and adults) to create their own vehicle concepts on a dedicated tablet and then drive their designs and themselves around a model town, all in augmented reality. Gizmag went along to experience the Camatte Vision for real.
At Gizmag, we have been following the playful journey of the Camatteproject for the past 3 years, with its goal of exploring the wonderof automobiles. With each passing year, it has blurred the line between a toy and a Toyota.
The story began in 2012, with three basic body designs, called the Sora,Daichi and Takumi. All of them had large swapable panels on a common electricpowered chassis. This was followed in 2013 by two more designs, called the 57sand 57 sport. Both of these featured smaller sized panels and produced evenmore body variations, again on a common electric powered drive-able chassis. For2014, in the Camatte Design Lab, all of the front panels were given a coatingof LEDs, enabling them to duplicate children's designs, in both color andshape.
Reawakening the childhood dreams
And for this year’s story, the CamatteVision aimed to reawaken the childhood dreams of the parents andshare them with their children. Although the theme was a retro toy car play set, there was only one real Camatte vehicle onthe stand at the Toy Show to play with. It had off-road style (swapable) bodywork, and still retained the Camatte signature center driving position with adjustablepedals and a child sized seat. Flanking this were two seats for theparents or instructor to sit close behind and keep an eye on proceedings.
Camatte Hajime specifications
- Length: 3,020 mm (119 in)
- Width: 1,320 mm (52 in)
- Height: 1,240 mm (49 in)
- Wheelbase: 1,800 mm (71 in)
- Seating capacity: 3
- Powertrain: Electric motor
The Creation process
Gizmag was lucky enough to be guidedthrough the creation process by Kota Nezu, one of the main designers on theproject and one of the originators of the Camatte concepts. He also has anextensive back catalog of creations from his time at Toyota, as well as havinghis own design company.
We started the creation process by me sitting in the real car. A photo was then taken with the dedicated tabletand my image was transferred onto a 3D model, again within the tablet.Next, I had a choice of 13 basic body styles, ranging from a firetruck to ahot-dog van and even a limo. And then there was a rainbow pallet of 12 colors tochose from, including white and black.
My own unique vehicle was now designedand then the building magic started. As the tablet was pointed at a white scalemodel of the Camatte, my design was slowly rendered in augmented reality.
After this, we moved to the driving area,a real model toy town. Then, pointing the tablet's camera at the real-world model town, we waited for AR me and my virtual design to appear out of thefactory onscreen and drive down the road. For children, they would also see their parents or family sitting in the other two seats.
As the car drove along the road in augmented reality, I could move the tablet in any direction andposition. However, my car was always driving along the road toward the finish area.Although, only my car was shown on my tablet, Kota Nezu explained that other cars driving along could also beshown.
To end the experience and be a lastingreminder of the event, a printed paperkit was given to me, it even had me in the driving seat, but only the new off-road Camatte design was available.
Camatte Vision proved popular
On the public days of the Tokyo Toy Show, the Toyota Camatte Vision proved a popular attraction for both childrenand adults alike. It was a great way of bringing the design process to thepublic in a very accessible way. In fact, it is a similar processto the augmented reality that enables adults to see their chosen configuredcar, in a real showroom.
Through the years, Toyota has been steadily making progress on itsmission of understanding what children see in cars. So now it feels more able to better designcars for the new generation. Though the Tokyo Toy Show has now ended, this blurring of the lines between a toy and aToyota can still be experienced at a permanent show at Mega Web inTokyo. Here, children can get into thedriving seat of previous Camatte vehicles for a real hands on experience.
"Whoknows what 2016 will bring to the Camatte Series, as the story is currentlybeing written", said Sumie Teraoka, the project leader. The Camatte Vision will become clearer if you take a look at the video below.