Giant Nintendo 3DS Augmented Reality Hack, MIT-Style

MIT students are known to be a studious bunch, solving differential equations and soldering all night in lab. But sometimes, this diligent group finds the time to have a little fun by putting up "hacks" across campus. At MIT, hacks aren’t harmful, nefarious “cracks” of computer or security systems; instead, they’re clever pranks or creative performance art intended to amuse, and make people wonder, “How the heck did they do that?”

Today in a main lobby at MIT, a gigantic Nintendo 3DS augmented reality (AR) card appeared hanging from the ceiling. If you haven’t had much time to play with a 3DS yet, it’s a handheld gaming system from Nintendo that does 3D without glasses, social networking, and augmented reality. Point the camera on your 3DS at a special card and the screen will not just show video of the card, it’ll also overlay 3D avatars, known as Miis,` on top of the card and whatever else the camera sees.

[Photo: Michael Snively]

An enterprising MIT student, Michael Snively, saw this huge 3DS AR card hanging from the ceiling and instantly knew what to do: he snapped out his 3DS, pointed it at the monster AR card, and got a host of his Miis, or Nintendo avatars to show up standing on the card in the MIT lobby. The Miis were even seen in a conga line and skydiving. Michael reports he was able to battle a giant dragon as well inside the lobby.

[Photo: Michael Snively]

Unfortunately for other would-be 3DS gamers who wanted to shoot targets and have their Miis dance at MIT, the giant AR card was removed a few hours after Michael spotted it. Sometimes school is just no fun.

Have you seen any slick 3DS hacks out in the wild? Let us know in the comments!

[Michael Snively]

One of Alessondra Springmann’s favorite MIT hacks involves terrible plays on words. Follow her on Twitter and on her blog.

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