When I was a kid, action figure blister cards and boxes were something sacred to be saved, much to my closet's destruction. These days, I've just been ripping toys out of their packaging and chucking it in the recycling bin. Thanks to Bandai's new use of augmented reality technology that allows users to see boxed (and un-boxed) 3D virtual models of toys in action, however, I may have to resume hoarding cardboard. Turns out the tech will work on Power Rangers, ThunderCats and Ben 10 toys, with others on the way. Thanks a lot, Bandai!

The Aurasma app Bandai's using is designed to let users see "a lifelike model" of toys projected from their boxes through the lens of a smartphone or tablet. It's like an articulation test drive that lasts as long as the packaging is intact.

I dreamed up some ways that comics might benefit from augmented reality when I reviewed the Nintendo 3DS last year, but its applications have been going largely unexplored. Given how many superhero action figure lines are on store shelves these days, it should be interesting to see if Mattel or Hasbro take the augmented reality plunge next with their respective DC and Marvel licenses -- and if comics will figure into it at all.

See the Aurasma technology in action below:

[Via Engadget]