Amazon has quietly launched a new augmented reality app that works with QR codes on the company’s shipping boxes to create an “interactive, shareable” AR experience,media techCrunch reported. The app, referred to simply as Amazon Augmented Reality, is described by the retailer as “an interesting way to reuse your Amazon boxes until you’re ready to throw them in the recycling bin.”
As screenshots of the app Store’s new app show, different Amazon boxes will provide unique activities for the AR experience. For example, a screenshot shows someone drawing a face on a pre-printed white pumpkin and turning it into a pumpkin lamp. Then when they scan the QR code, the pumpkin jumps out as an AR object. Another screenshot shows an image of a dog on the wings of an AR pumpkin and bat. One shows the Amazon box turning into a blue AR car when the QR code is scanned.
In the App Store video, there are other animated characters, including the Amazon Smile logo itself, an AR Kirkie dog that jumps out playfully when scanning QR codes.
If the user’s iPhone also supports TrueDepth technology, the app can also use the device’s camera to track their facial movements to enable features like “selfie” mode, the company said in its description.
The app has recently been unveiled on the iOS App Store and Google Play, and no other features are available if it’s not used with amazon boxes that support new QR codes.
At the time of release, however, the app seemed to focus only on the PUMPKIN AR experience. Once you design and scan the pumpkin into AR, the user can press another button to further decorate the pumpkin — changing its light or color by giving it a hat or dress, etc. Users can also flip the camera to display pumpkins on their selfie chart, which moves with the user’s face. Users can then press the camera button in the app to take photos of their creations and share them on social media.
As part of Amazon’s ongoing “Less Packaging, A Little Smile” campaign, these boxes also use less material.
Amazon has been involved in AR for some time, most recently with the introduction of a new AR shopping feature that allows users of Amazon’s main shopping apps to visualize multiple pieces of furniture or decorations in the room at the same time. A few years ago, it also launched a simpler version of AR Shopping in its Amazon iOS app, called AR View, built with ARKit. It has also tried “shopping stickers”, using AR to place the product’s base sticker in the user’s space instead of the real product.
However, Amazon’s latest AR View feature is ready to support Apple’s latest arKit and is likely to want to explore the possibilities further. Box scanning AR applications can be used as a way to test consumer demand for more AR products. But Amazon doesn’t seem to be using the app to collect a wide range of research data. The App Store description states that all information processed using new technology in Amazon’s new AR player will remain on the device, rather than being “stored, processed or shared by Amazon.”
The app is currently available for free download in the iOS and Android App Stores.