On a recent visit to the newly-christened T-Mobile Park, home of the Seattle Mariners, game-day hosts passed out packs of baseball cards. Only, these cards were unlike anything that we may have seen before. T-Mobile, flexing their technology muscle, has worked to create augmented reality (AR) baseball cards. The packaging text tells you to download the T-Mobile Tech Experience app, then you are to scan the cards (there are three in the pack) with the app and see the card come to life through this augmented reality technology.
The first card is the Mariner Moose, the hometown nine’s venerable mascot. The card depicts the Moose with one hoof (!) in the air, and the other facing the camera. Under the AR scan, the Moose is dancing around in what appears to be a several second video, akin to something out of the Harry Potter world. The reverse side features a rather nice biography of the Moose, describing his origins.
The second card depicts a night time scene of T-Mobile Park overlooking Edgar Martinez Drive facing north, with the roof open. Under the AR scan, we are treated to a several second fireworks display, with the phrase, “WELCOME TO T-MOBILE PARK” superimposed on the fireworks display. The reverse side of the card gives you a bit of information on the ballpark, but mainly indicates some to the T-Mobile features fans will experience.
The third and final card shows what must be a T-Mobile fan truck, where according to the back of the card, you are supposed to visit and use a barcode and scan yourself a chance to win a prize. The Mariners beat the Boston Red Sox that day, so that was prize enough for me!
Anyway, I got a chance to see AR technology at an art museum last year, which was featured as part of the art exhibition and found it an interesting use of technology. In doing some initial research on AR, I found a simply-put definition from HowStuffWorks.com: “Augmented reality is the blending of interactive digital elements – like dazzling visual overlays, buzzy haptic feedback, or other sensory projections – into our real-world environments.”
So, that is, when using this app (or AR glasses) you can scan something that is coded with AR to see an interactivity come to life. It’s pretty cool stuff, especially when you start thinking about its applicability to real baseball cards. Imagine using AR on your next set of Topps cards and see the images of the ballplayers come to life taking a swing, or throwing a pitch or catching a ball! The possibilities for such use may be boundless.