Augmented Reality: The future of storytelling?

augmented reality

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Augmented reality has advertisers and marketing drones fawning over their lattes and popping mind enhancing drugs by the bucket load as they think of the implications. But is it just a gimmick used to sell a product, and give us poor consumers a moment or two of fun, or does it have wider and more intelligent uses?

Imagine the scene: Little Timmy, dressed in his Power Ranger pyjamas, has finished brushing his teeth and jumps excitedly onto his Thomas the Tank Engine duvet.

“Can I have a story, mommy? Can I?”

You pick up his latest toy and place it on the bed, hand your son a smartphone and leave him to it. Little Timmy points the phone at the toy at which point said toy comes to life and begins dancing across the bed sheets, singing songs and telling stories.

For those of you who don’t know, augmented reality is the power of your phone to alter or enhance the world around you. Starbuck’s famously did it with their Christmas coffee cups. Customers who bought the special cups only had to lift up their smartphone cameras to see a special animation dancing around their table top.

Developers are looking at using it to enhance our everyday experiences. Let’s say you are in the supermarket, shopping for the week’s food. You see a product, point your phone at it and augmented reality gives you details of what it contains, serving suggestions, calories, even what wine to drink with it.

Today is a special event. Your street is going to become a land of fantasy, filled with fighting gnomes and hobgoblins. You step into the sunshine, wearing a pair of special glasses and look at the car parked in front of your house. Out of the sunroof pops a great and powerful wizard. Behind him, over by the telephone pole, a little further down the street, monkey creatures peak back at you screeching horribly. In the sky above, prehistoric hawks swoop down.

Or imagine you visit Whitechapel and want to be entertained by the gruesome tale of Jack the Ripper. Instead of reading a guidebook, you let your smartphone drag you down those old streets, watching clever animations of the murders, and the killer, at first hand.

Augmented reality is in its infancy and we don’t quite know what it will bring. We oldies may see it as a quaint diversion to show off to our friends in the office, but there are some, like one CEO below, who think the future of this new technology will enhance our world, delight and educate us for years to come.


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2 thoughts on “Augmented Reality: The future of storytelling?

  1. Aaagh! And do the apps also include labels saying “I am not mad, I am merely reacting to augmented reality!”

    1. We live in hope, but I suspect we are all just mad…

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