Heathrow Airport's most recent arrival isn't a flight, but rather an interactive children's game featuring augmented reality technology.
The game is the first of its kind at the airport, allowing children to scan digital badges using an app on their smartphones to see characters from Mr. Men and Little Miss — the popular series of illustrated children's books — in the airport.
Called Around the World with Mr. Adventure, the game requires that users download the smartphone app of the same name to play. From there, you are instructed to move around the airport and scan five hidden badges using your phone camera.
Each time you scan a badge, you bring it to life. The Mr. Men and Little Miss characters in the badges subsequently show up in the airport, only visible through the lens of your smartphone.
Once you have successfully scanned all five badges, you can retrieve real, iron-on collectible badges for a tangible remnant of your AR experience.
Heathrow worked with Ads Reality — a company focused on bringing ads to life with augmented reality technology — to create the AR app. Ads Reality Co-Founder Richard Corps shared with VR Focus that he's thrilled with Heathrow's interest in AR.
This is a fun and interactive experience that we're rolling out with Heathrow and a chance for the airport to drive engagement and fun for passengers. We're delighted that Heathrow sees the benefits of augmented reality to the customers they serve, and it's a great example of a large company looking at innovative technology to drive an exciting customer experience.
While the focus of this project is on providing children with an interactive game to play while they wait for their flights, the game also provides helpful data to Heathrow. The airport will use activity from the game to see which terminals are interacted with the most. They hope to use this information to better customer experiences at the airport.
The game and the app are free, but they do require you be at Heathrow to play. While I won't be in London anytime soon, I'm hoping AR games like this roll out to more airports in the states. Considering how annoying — and increasingly frequent — flight delays are, we could all use a distraction.
Screenshots by Sarah Tseggay/Next Reality