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Hey everyone I was recently reading Brick by Brick when I ran into some interesting information about a LEGO KidPad game. So I Googled it and ran into this: https://sakalowsky.wordpress.com/portfolio-2/




The LEGO KidPad Circus was an interactive playset and video game that used a special object-tracking technology which enabled children to use typical play patterns to control the on-screen game play.

LEGO figures and building elements, embedded with passive RF tags, could be tracked on the playset. On-screen, characters animated and games could be played in response to the presence, movement and gestures made with the play pieces.

KidPad Circus was a complex project involving game design, video game development, electro-mechanical engineering, industrial design, electronics and plastics manufacturing, in the United States and Denmark. Extensive child usability testing and work with cognitive psychologists was used to develop and refine the design.

The KidPad Circus and related programs were cancelled due to the economic difficulties of 2000.

One final note: Even though this uses Duplo I thought it may be interesting to post as it shows some of LEGOs goals in technology and that it hinted that there were other projects that could have been system based.

Edit: I've emailed him. I'll let everyone know if he responds.

Edited by jhuyser

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I got a couple responses.

Here is reply 1

Hi Jeremy,
Where did you hear about LEGO KidPad? Maybe my coroflot page?
KidPad was smart toy based on an RF object tracking technology (developed at Interval Research and spun out into Zowie Entertainment, in the SF Bay Area). LEGO acqui-hired the company in 1999-2000 to integrate tech into their toys and pair the physical and digital experiences. 
I worked on KidPad Circus, which as you can probably guess, was a Circus-themed video game. Moving the figures and building elements on the play surface would drive the video game. Each of the characters could be paired with animals for in-game activities: tricks, music, etc. There was a whole animal care and nurturing mode, too, where characters had to feed, groom and clean-up after the animals to keep them healthy. It was a lot of fun figuring out what Lego element the poop would look like. 
Sadly, I don’t believe it ever made it to market as LEGO shut down our group in 2001, when the dot-com-economy went bust (also, the company had placed a lot of bad bets on theme parks, lifestyle goods and retail operations and was in tough financial situation).
Let me know if you have any more questions. I’ll see if I can dig up some screen shots. 
Best regards,

My response.

I learned about it through the book Brick by Brick, which mentioned it.
The technology sounds amazing and reminds me a bit of LEGO Dimensions from recent times (Maybe they reused some of the technology) only without the full addon pack deal. Yeah, it didn't make to the market sadly. The cancellation was one of things that hurt LEGO back the day unfortunately. I do have couple of questions, A. Did LEGO Media have any involvement with this and B. You mentioned some other products do you have any idea on what they would have been?
Thanks for responding and the interesting information.

And reply number 2

Hi Jeremy,
I’m not very familiar with Dimensions but a cursory look suggests a very similar (if not same) technology behind the KidPad. The “toy tag” looks a lot like the RFID sensor tags that we used to develop the KidPad games. If true, it’s nice to know that our work eventually saw light of day and didn’t end up in the cupboard like a jar of pigs feet nobody wanted. 
Legomedia had minimal involvement with the KidPad titles. We worked primarily with a Portland, OR based game developer and some 3D artists in the UK. There seemed to be a lot of infighting/turf wars over who at Lego would be responsible for this new technology and team. I remember some very awkward meetings in Slough.
The other products that were in development based on the KidPad technology was a game for Lego Racers — building the car with physical bricks. And, if I can remember that far back, something for Lego Girlz or whatever it was called, the predecessor to Friends. 
- John



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