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Kids get kick from iPhone app’s virtual soccer ball [Australian Innovation]


These creative Australians have tossed a virtual soccer ball into the ever-expanding universe of iPhone apps. And that ball is enjoying a rather big bounce.

The ball is the star of Upsies, an “augmented reality” game, and the creative Australians behind it come from Blind Mice Studios and Protein One. In the short time since its debut in the Apple Apps Store on July 13, Upsies has been featured on “The Today Show” and, as of July 28, was the No. 1 uploaded iPhone app for children’s phones in Australia and New Zealand.

Upsies uses an iPhone camera’s motion-detection abilities to place a virtual soccer ball in the user’s real world. As the ball hovers on the phone’s screen, the user can kick it, dribble it, even bounce it off the head.

Even better — there are no vuvuzelas!

Upsies – Soccer on the iPhone

In addition to the fun factor, Blind Mice says the application introduces coordination, timing and exercise into iPhone game play and opens up a new — an almost Wii-like — way to interact with sports activities on the iPhone.

“We’ve worked solidly on the App for months now in order to time the release with Apple’s new iOS4 software, which opens up another world of augmented reality for developers,” says Alan Rogers, a director for Sydney-based Blind Mice. “Our focus was to produce something that kept kids and parents active whilst playing, rather than lying on the couch and staring into the screen.”

Two directors of Blind Mice also are directors of Protein One, a Surry Hills-based brand development company that last November brought home the Commercial Creativity Award at Anthill Magazine’s Cool Company Awards.

Protein One and Blind Mice already attracted acclaim for their the iPhone version of Ask the Butcher, an interactive website that, in partnership with Vic’s Meat, answers users’ questions about everything from venison tenderloin to hanger steak. The website receieved an Outstanding Achievement honor from the Interactive Media Awards.

Upsies is compatible with the iPhone 3G and iPhone 4. (It requires iOS 4.0.) It is available at the Apps Store for 99 cents.

Image by Blind One Studios