UK company Appshaker has created an augmented reality experience for National Geographic that is currently touring shopping malls in Europe, with a featured test market in Budapest.
This is a really solid example of how augmented reality applications can be used beyond most of the novelty approaches that are in place today. This experience becomes more immersive for the target audience, and doesn’t feel cheap.
The National Geographic experience works by placing a large digital display and high-definition camera in front of an AR marker that adhered to the floor at the correct viewing distance. When you step onto the AR marker, the virtual content comes to life on the display in front of you.The video is a little deceiving since it focuses more on audience reaction, and less on what the audience is actually seeing, but you get the idea. This example is so much better than the typical “point your phone at a card, watch the animation”, which anymore feels like it has jumped the shark.
One thing that Appshaker did was having a real guide, who was there to help people interact with and understand the augmented reality content. That little trick helps make the whole installation work by getting the audience to understand and participate.
National Geographic just launched a really cool interactive experience entitled Mission Expedition. From today through April 9, people can log on to the site between the hours of 2pm and 2am Eastern time and line up to control the strategically placed state-of-the-art telepresence cameras attached to a moving model train.
The robotic camera train, travels on a track that snakes throughout the miniature sets, and will allow viewers to drive and participate in a photo safari searching for tiny hidden artifacts within each location. As you drive through the site you have a chance to take home a piece of history. Participants will have up to a minute to navigate through the set and take a picture of what they feel is the most valuable artifact they come across.
If the image you capture ends up being one of the hidden artifacts of the day, you will be notified and the artifact will be delivered from the Mission Expedition set directly to the your home. Nearly 200 of the featured miniature artifacts are stand-ins for life-sized item and total more than $10K in value.
This is a great use of technology, user participation, gaming mechanics, and user interaction. Kudos to Nat Geo!