Those looking for a creative way to loose a metaphorical Cupid's arrow at the figurative heart of the object of their affection can now add augmented reality greeting cards to their quiver.
Just in time for the first Hallmark holiday of the year, Happy Giant, developer of the well-regarded HoloGrid: Monster Battle game, has published the REAL cARds app for iPhones and iPads.
Besides hitting my soft-spot for capitalizing AR in all the words, REAL cARds uses ARKit to display virtual teddy bears in the recipient's immediate surroundings. Are they as cuddly as a real plushy? Until ARKit gains some sophisticated haptic feedback, no, it isn't. Is it adorable? I don't see why not.
"REAL cARds are the perfect way for people to experience AR for the first time…and over, and over, again. They are bite-sized chunks of AR fun," said Michael Levine, CEO of HappyGiant, in a statement. "It's an exciting new way to send messages, and virtual teddy bears, to friends and family."
Users of the app have multiple AR teddy bear and flower animations to choose from at launch, with more options arriving in future updates. The cards can also be customized with personal messages, but the AR cards must be sent via the app (the app also offers video cards that can be shared via text or email).
While the app, video cards, and the first AR card are free, additional cards are available via in-app purchase at $1.99 each or $2.99 for a three-pack.
But what about Android users?
Available for Android and iOS, TinkerNote stands as a free, cross-platform alternative. Instead of virtual greeting cards, Tinkernote messages are delivered in virtual gift boxes.
With TinkerNote, users can select from six scenes upon which they can place personal messages, emojis, framed pictures, and more. Like with REAL cARds, the app is required to display the treat in AR, but they can also be shared as 3D animations through text and email.
In either case, I wouldn't recommend foregoing flowers and chocolates to significant others or secret crushes on Valentine's Day in favor or AR cards, but, when shared in conjunction with traditional gifts, they do serve as a novel means of expressing true affection with a techie touch.
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