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Toymakers are the early adopters pushing AR into the mainstream


NewsHubIn the race to greater consumer adoption, augmented reality is emerging as the early leader, thanks to its adoption by a key consumer market.
The technology has always been a wonder, drawing its strength from its capacity to make just about any subject come to life, popping out of the real ground beneath our feet and conjuring up digital apparitions that serve as extensions of our own imagination onto the physical world around us.
That ability to create wonder in the everyday, without total immersion, also provides a clue for why AR adoption has been faster (aside from technical limitations that still bedevil VR). One indicator of how the market is apparently more comfortable with AR than it is with its immersive sibling, VR, is that one of its earliest adopters are toymakers. In fact, the Toy Industry Association named augmented reality and related technologies the top toy trend for 2016.
“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.” Catherine Allen, AR/VR specialist & kids app producer, who has worked on products like Barefoot World Atlas and Elmer’s Photo Patchwork, told me. “They could see what a famous Henry Moore sculpture looks like, in their garden!”
Earlier this month the AR startup Osmo, which creates board games, puzzle pieces and blocks that interact with mobile games and iPads, raised $24 million. Over 22,000 schools have adopted its products, a 5-fold increase from a year ago, according to the company.
Most parents may be reluctant to expose their kids to VR experiences because of the lack of safety research. AR, on the other hand, isn’t immersive, and plays out as a digital layer that enhances, or enables further, what is possible to do in real life.
“One of the sweet spots for AR on phones and tablets is at the intersection of toys and games. I would generally call them kids products.

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