Stop me if you've heard this one before: scan an image with your iPhone's camera and augmented reality content shows up.
This idea probably has you thinking about Snapchat and its Snapcodes. Or maybe you're thinking of Blippar, Zappar, or countless other marker-based AR experiences. Oh, and there's this little company called Apple that just announced that its AR platform will gain the same capability in its next update (ARKit 1.5).
So when Thyng, an ARKit-enabled app that lets users place their own images and videos in their physical space, introduces a similar target-scanning feature, it doesn't sound very groundbreaking. The difference, though, is that Thyng gives creators the ability to quickly and easily embed their own existing content in any 2D image right now.
To create scannable AR content, users just upload the target image and a 10-second video clip to the app's website. After that, Thyng app users have the ability to scan that image and view the video in AR. Creators can also associate a webpage with the image, and the app can recognize 3D objects when a .obj file is uploaded to the site.
The feature has a wide range of uses. Publishers can take a page from Time's playbook and embed video content into their own periodicals, or hyperlink a book cover for purchase via Amazon. A band could host a short music video in the band's logo or concert poster. Craftspeople could show off 3D models of figurines, jewelry, and other trinkets from a catalog, and link them to Etsy for purchase.
Along with target-scanning, Thyng is adding several other features, with varying levels of utility. (Each feature is branded with Thyng as a prefix, but, for your sanity, we won't call out each of them.) For example, Thyng can now host content in a private cloud locker, or a public channel to share with others.
In addition, the company offers a 3D scanning service that lets people create 3D models of themselves. Also, using a hand-held scanner, businesses can make 3D copies of their products. The resulting 3D models can be viewed in AR with the Thyng app and linked to web content.
Alas, the equipment for these services can only be found only at Thyng's Chicago offices. So, it's useful for businesses of the River North Design District, Merchandise Mart, or elsewhere in the Windy City. Otherwise, your mileage will vary, literally.
With each passing month, as AR continues to gain popularity among users and adoption among businesses, the options of "DIY" tools for creating AR experiences have increased in quantity. As a result, AR is no longer the sole province of developers. While more sophisticated experiences will still require some coding skills, simply presenting AR content is now just an upload away.