Press Release: Swapbots Come Out to Play at 4YFN Barcelona

Press Release

New UK product SwapBots, the collectible, customisable toys and game that come to life through augmented reality, will be showcasing on the UK Pavilion at 4YFN 2019. With a successful Kickstarter campaign under their belt, and early access samples shipped, the SwapBots team will be at Barcelona’s startup showcase to present their eagerly awaited ‘connected play’ offer.

According to Juniper Research*, the smart toy space is predicted to grow by 200% over the next four years to a value of $18bn. When combined with the rise and appetite for new brands in the toy sector over recent years – the SwapBots team are now in prime position to build opportunities within this dynamic marketplace.

John Keefe co-founder of SwapBots comments, “We came up with the idea for SwapBots at a trade show back in 2015. As a studio we’d been developing immersive tech-infused products and installations projects for clients for several years – and we could see there was real scope to develop a new type of connected, playful product around augmented reality”.

Fast-track more than three years and SwapBots has evolved from sketches in a coffee shop, to a successful Kickstarter campaign, to being in the hands of hundreds of early adopters. The collectible toys use augmented reality to create a spectacular, interactive video game world around a physical toy. By swapping pieces of the SwapBots, the player can influence in-game attributes.

The toy is ‘scanned’ by a mobile device to unlock it in the game using an advanced version of marker-based augmented reality. As the digital animation is overlaid onto the physical toy, it gives the appearance that the video game has broken out of the screen and arrived into the real world. The SwapBots toys can be assembled in hundreds of combinations, each of which results in differing in-game abilities.

John continues, “Over the last few years we’ve learnt a lot about developing a product that combines a physical and digital offer. We’ve brought experienced toy industry people onto our team from Hasbro and Mind Candy, and established a fantastic manufacturing partner. We’re now looking forward to exploring further opportunities and partnerships”.

In Spring 2019 a limited number of early access products will be released, and interest can be registered at SwapBots are expected to launch to the international market in early 2020.

* Juniper Research Smart Toys 2018-2023


For more information about SwapBots, images, video or to arrange interviews please contact
UK: Phil Charnock / e:

About SwapBots

SwapBots are collectible toys that use augmented reality to create a spectacular, interactive video game world around a physical toy. By swapping pieces of the SwapBots, the player can influence in-game attributes. The player simply points their phone or tablet at the SwapBot toy to see it come to life as the digital animation is overlaid onto it.

This style of combined physical and digital play is often referred to as connected play. SwapBots were conceived during a trip to the Augmented World Expo in 2015. Witnessing a lack of child-friendly uses of AR, the Draw & Code team set to work on designing what was to become SwapBots.

Initially the toy was prototyped as internal R&D, but after gaining interest from industry in the concept during 2016 it was spun out as a product in its own right. From home-made prototypes to gaining support from the VC-backed HAX Accelerator in San Francisco, SwapBots were successfully crowdfunded during 2017.

Picture of Phil


I’m the resident head of comms and partnerships here at Draw & Code. I work on strategy, sales, marketing and other vital areas at a studio that was founded on a dream and has spent the intervening decade trying to make that dream come true. I believe that immersive and interactive technologies are impacting on our lives and being in the epicentre of this industry makes every day a thrill.

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