If you thought Hallmark just did the cards with teddy bears on that you give to your gran, think again. The greetings card company have catapaulted themselves into the digital era with a new series of augmented reality greetings cards. Or greetings experiences rather. The virtual teddy bear can now hover above your gran’s head as she peers at an augmented reality real-time video of herself and teddy on screen. Now that’s progress.
Actually the series they have released don’t involve teddy bears, but green bunny-rabit creatures and a cunning mixture of real cards – that you send in the post, and computer graphics super-imposed via a webcam.
The person receiving the card can visit www.hallmark.com/extra and follow the directions to be able to view a 3D animated feature by holding the greeting card up to the web camera. The animation tracks with the movement of the card, so no matter which way the card is moved, the animation will rotate along in full 3D. In many cards, various scenes appear as the card is turned in different angles in front of the webcam for a range of digital experiences.
The experience of receiving one looks a bit like this: (play vid below)
I think AR cards are a fun idea… and a bit more special than an e-card which was essentially just a jpeg in an email. This combines exciting computer stuff with a nice real card. The only downside is that the series of instructions you have to follow to view the card properly are going to take a bit from the spontaneity of the whole affair. Oh well. It is augmented reality, we all have to make sacrifices.
should be available in shops. See more info on the Hallmark site
UPDATE: nb. available from now in the US, but no news yet on UK release.