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Once a billion-dollar industry, the market for sports trading cards has languished in the Internet age. Topps is hoping today's introduction of the 3D Live baseball card is able to reverse the trend.

Beginning Monday, collectors who hold a special Topps 3D Live baseball card in front of a webcam will see a three-dimensional avatar of the player on the computer screen. Rotate the card, and the figure rotates in full perspective. It’s called "augmented reality," a combination of a real image with a virtual one.

...

Using the technology, card collectors see a three-dimensional version of a player and can play elementary pitching, batting and catching games using the computer keyboard.

Michael Eisner, the former Disney chief whose company bought Topps for $385 million in 2007, calls it "the boldest technology idea we've seen in sports cards so far."

Sure, it's gimmicky. And it won't save the sports trading card industry on its own. But does 3-D trading card technology pique your interest? Would you want a copy of the card featuring your favorite player, just to toy around with?

Webcam Brings 3-D to Topps Sports Cards [The New York Times]

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