2016 has been a great year for Augmented Reality, epitomized by the debut of Pokémon Go, and the industry is expected to keep on growing and disrupting the consumer market in the upcoming year. There are many things you can do with this innovative technology. As a matter of fact, it’s expected to be a major game changer in the advertising and marketing sectors.
No one wants to miss out on the AR phenomenon. Therefore, as we enter the holiday season, we have compiled a list of the coolest Augmented Reality gifts you can get for your loved ones this Christmas.
Despite the festive occasion, most of these concepts can be considered ‘evergreen’. So if you are creating projects for your clients or looking into spicing up your brand experience, you may find inspiring ideas here that can be implemented all year around.
For photo aficionados: Prynt case
The Prynt phone case allows you to “print instant photos from your phone with magical hidden videos inside”. Yeah, you read it correctly -- hidden videos! When you take a photo, the Prynt app also records a 6-second video, which is automagically linked to the photo and uploaded to the cloud, thanks to Catchoom’s Image Recognition and Augmented Reality tech.
So when you hold your phone over a Prynt, the video will start playing on top of the photo a, blowing your friend’s minds!
If you don’t want to wait until Christmas Day to unwrap the mini printer device, here’s how you can create personalized AR greeting cards for friends and family using Prynt. So much more fun than a plain card bought at a gas station!
You can also use photos to decorate your home and delight family members as they scan them with the app to unlock surprise videos when they come over to your home over the holidays.
For those who love traditions with a twist: SnapCards
Those who are a great fan of modern technology, but believe that lovely traditions such as sending print postcards to their beloved ones should not be going anywhere anytime soon, SnapCards will be a treat.
You can order cute greeting cards from the website for different occasions – of course, Christmas is one of them, but you can cheer someone up on their birthday, too. When you receive your order, you can scan the card with their free app to add your personal video greeting, which gets uploaded to the database.
Then, you just have to mail the card. When the recipient scans the card with the same app, they will see your surprise video message. So personal!
At the moment, the service is only available in Spain. We're proud that the creators, EmotionsAR, are also using Catchoom's image recognition & AR tech to offer such interactive experiences.
For sports fans: RideOn Augmented Reality ski goggles
The new RideOn ski goggles are not cheap, but they deliver something that no plain plastic eye protection can: real-time information on the slopes.
Besides showing virtual maps and points-of-interest (think: ‘hütte’ selling hot punch) in your field of vision, you can also use the camera to record your time on the slopes, and share your experience live with online friends.
For the fantasy lovers: Wonderbook Book of Spells
Who doesn’t love Harry Potter? This game uses PlayStation Eye Camera and the Wonderbook technology for an augmented reality experience, making it seem like the events of book take place around you. You can learn spells, using your PlayStation Move motion controller as a magic wand, and discover new, exclusive J.K. Rowling tidbits about the creatures and backstories.
For playful tech-heads: MekaMon Spiderbots
MekaMon is a multi-functional, connected battlebot that you can control with your phone. View it through the screen and you’ll enter the robot’s virtual battlefield. You can play in single-player mode and fight hostile virtual aliens in AR, or fight another real-life MekaMon in two-player mode. Turn your living room into a battlefield this Christmas by entering the “MekaMon Universe”.
SwapBots offers a similar idea to kids, allowing them to build their totem pole-like custom robot and take them to battle.
For rebels in a galaxy far, far away: Sphero, the Star Wars inspired bot
Sphero is robotic ball that allows you to play in the virtual and real world simultaneously, by tilting, touching or swinging your smartphone or tablet. The best features are the mobile games you can download, which use Augmented Reality to turn Sphero into a player in the game.
Check out Sharky the Beaver, for instance.
For beauty queens: Metaverse Makeover nail art with AR
The Metaverse Makeover nail art packages not only look cool in real life, but they can also be scanned via a free app called MM Nails for an interactive effect. An article called it a “Snapchat filter for your nails”. Turn into Sailor Moon for New Year’s Eve party and show some virtual glitz.
For little fashionistas: Marks&Spencer Augmented Reality t-shirts
Graphic t-shirts are cool, but AR-powered graphic t-shirts are the real deal. British Marks & Spencer released an entire collection of kids clothing that can be scanned with their free app, unlocking fun 3D animations. Such a Christmas gift will be way more beloved than a boring woollen sweater.
For young storytellers...: Get Qurious Maker Box
This product is not available in the market yet, but you can add it to your wish list for next year! This interactive book merges reading and gaming through Augmented Reality. Ideal for kids aged 4 to 9, it will unleash kid’s curiosity with this new way to play that involves story cards, masks, stickers and puzzles.
...for wannabe entrepreneurs: Pizza Co. game by Osmo
Following the concept of the famous lemonade stand, Osmo’s Pizza Co. board game wants to give kids a fun way to understand what goes into running a business.
The game includes a pizza pan and different toppings. Kids assemble pizzas based on customer’s orders. The kids can also charge customers and give change using play money. Their movements are captured with Osmo’s reflective camera mounted on a tablet, using recognition technology. Thanks to this, the kids get instant feedback on their actions (e.g. giving back the right amount of change), and can interact with the cartoon characters.
...and for little artists: Octaland 4D+ Color Me! Book
Octaland’s AR coloring book makes all kids’ dream real: they can watch their own ‘creations’ come to life with Augmented Reality. Older generations only had paper and scissors to make cut-out puppets, while kids nowadays have interactive technology.
The book contains black and white drawings of magical characters, waiting for children to decorate them with colors using pencils or markers. They can then turn the Octanians into animated 3D characters by downloading the company’s free app (with some help by mommy and daddy), then scan the pages to see the drawings come to life in Augmented Reality, according to the colors and patterns they chose. Perfect to awaken the creative spirit of little ones.
Augmented Reality is all around
As the digital and real world come together, gifts are becoming more magical, more personalized, more fun than ever.
These interactive experiences appeal to all age groups, so expect to see even more AR-powered products, toys and prints coming out throughout next year.
But, of course, Christmas is always a good excuse to treat yourself and your beloved ones to the latest AR gadgets. Happy holidays!
Image credits, besides brands mentioned: Mobile Marketing Magazine, Prynt, Pushsquare, TechCrunch