Augmented reality is one of the tech trends expected to dominate 2017. And it's off to a good start.
A few days from now, the CES 2017 will take place and AR, along with virtual reality, is expected to be a major part of the tech tradeshow. But even before AR takes center stage, some developers have already trained their sights on creating on AR, boosting its relevance early on.
This early emergence can be traced to "its adoption by a key consumer market" as Tech Crunch put it. That market happens to be games and toys.
The Toy Industry Association recently named AR and other reality-based tech as the top toy trend last year. The same can be said for 2017.
It has become a common problem that many children spend more time in front of a screen - whether it's TV, computer, tablet or smartphone - than outdoors playing actual games. With AR and VR, that problem may finally be solved.
"Think of the drama, dance, fine art and sculpture opportunities that AR brings. Kids could watch famous actors perform Shakespeare monologues in their living room. They could see what a famous Henry Moore sculpture looks like, in the garden! "
This is how Catherine Allen, a kid's app developer and AR/VR enthusiast behind the likes of Elmer's Photo Patchwork and Barefoot World Atlas, describes the many possibilities of the technology.
Some examples of AR-integrated games include SwapBots, Koski, Mardles and discovAR. Osmo is a startup that is also involved in AR.
SwapBots allows users to see the toys "come to life" using the SwapScope. Koski involves moving building blocks around using the hands. The device then uses its camera to add a layer of augmented reality on the blocks.
AliveLab created Mardles and discovAR, a digital sticker and 4D coloring book, respectively, that brings characters to life in 3D. Osmo, meanwhile, is all about puzzles and board games that can interact with mobile games.