One of the most unique functions that has arisen since the debut of ARKit technology with IOS11 is the augmented reality portal. I’ve highlighted this concept several times here on VirtualiTeach, from the original piece from the days of ARKit demos before the launch, to the use of Figment AR to transport students to other worlds, to the recent article about the excellent Hologo World platform. This new app Enter the Room, produced by the International Committee of The Red Cross is without a doubt the best use case of augmented reality portals yet produced.
Why? Because it has genuine purpose, it helps convey an important message and it does what no AR app has really accomplished before - it fosters empathy. Usually it is VR that is harnessed for this type of effect but Enter the Room uses the portal to draw you into a tragically real situation, despite the real world still being around you.
Once upon have anchored the portal somewhere in the real world, the app leads you into a child's bedroom in an unnamed, war-torn country. It time-jumps through a four year period showing you a glimpse of the same space at yearly intervals as the horrors of conflict begin to unfold outside, corrupting the sanctity of the child's room and ultimately building towards an explosion that shatters the windows.
The app then seals the experience with the simple truth - you can now leave the room but there are children all over the world right now that can’t.
As someone who is a firm believer in the role of VR as an against of empathy, part of me did wish that this actually was a VR experience, with the ability to interact with elements in the room. Upon reflection, the AR slant here actually adds a clever touch - your own room is still there, you’re in your own safe environment and for many people this real world, virtual world dichotomy will serve to further highlight the plight of children who are experiencing this for real around the globe right now,
It’s powerful stuff and something I highly recommend you try for yourself.
To download the app click here.
To find out more about the work of the ICRC, click here.