If Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are the VHS and Betamax of our digital generation, AR is arguably the format that will win out in the long run. It might be less showy than VR, but AR has the potential to push the boundaries of the real world in ways other mediums can only dream of.
The concept of “augmenting” reality – literally, to make it greater by expanding it – has applications in training across health and safety, the medical and defence sectors, and can unlock deeper layers of commercial value by engaging consumers with unique experiences.
Gamar, a long-term resident of Innovation Warehouse, is a uniquely innovative AR company that enhances on-site tours for tech-savvy visitors by ‘gamifying’ the learning experience. Its exclusive algorithm recognises and scans solid 3D objects and, in a sense, draws them into the virtual realm.
Gamar’s technology triggers interactive, AR gaming experiences that are played through smartphones and tablets, using geolocation to lure visitors to museums with in-gallery games – increasing footfall. Its app uses unique environment learning and mapping technology to bring AR into the public sphere – literally adding a new dimension to learning.
Texas-educated founder Venu Tammabatula joined Innovation Warehouse in 2013, having spotted an opportunity to step out on his own with commercial prototypes developed as a side project to his full-time job.
“I’d just left my job and started working on Gamar full time. I’d met one of the digital managers for the British Museum in my former role, and she expressed an interest. That’s when I thought: ‘Maybe I should focus on this full time’,” says Venu.
“As soon as I joined I met [Innovation Warehouse founder] Ami Shpiro and explained what I was doing to him, and within a couple of weeks I got the contract from the British Museum. Ami was impressed that things had progressed so quickly and introduced me to some investors – and together we created a pitch document that helped secure investment.”
Right from the beginning, Venu’s AR concept was to analyse and recognise solid, real-world 3D objects – not just pictures or boxes – which set it apart from competitors focused on developing purely image-based AR applications. The potential for collaboration was huge.
“The British Museum introduced us to the V&A, the V&A introduced us to the National Maritime Museum and we started creating commission-based projects with these museums. Opportunities came organically,” remembers Venu.
“In 2016 we listened to our clients, adapted to scale and started work on a new project: a content-management system where anyone can log in and create AR games and tours by themselves. Innovation Warehouse has been supportive in this venture.
“We’ve created an app with a system that allows you to scan anything around you – we want everyone to scan their environments, to participate in the process of creation and make either games or utility-based applications. We want to create a truly digital world.”
Through companies like Gamar, AR is proving that reality is more than skin deep. Click here to learn more about how Gamar is bringing new meaning to people’s everyday experiences.