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Wal-Mart uses ‘augmented reality’ to market new furniture range

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Wal-Mart has launched Your Zone 3D, a system that lets customers flash a marker in front of their web cam to see an ‘augmented reality’ show that includes animated images of Wal-Mart’s new teen orientated furniture in a ‘virtual room’ environment.

“Wal-Mart has a new teen line and they needed to get the word out in a special way,” Sissy Estes, associate creative director at The Martin Agency, which created the campaign, told ClickZ. “When teens enter the room, they see the furniture line and can explore different combinations, so it’s a way to preview the whole line.”

The creative was produced for Wal-Mart’s website by Neo-Pangea. According to ClickZ:

Visitors see different combinations by rotating the marker in front of the Web cam that shifts the scene in the room to show the furniture from different angles. “You tilt the room left and right and the skateboard at the bottom of the page moves along with the momentum of gravity,” said Brett Bagenstose, creative director at Neo-Pangea.

The AR scene was created using 3D models of the furniture that were animated with 3D modeling software and rendered with Flash and Papervision. Bagenstose said 11 different room set-ups were shot to show all the products, which were skinned with fabrics available in the line. The scene loops continuously and all the content can be viewed in three minutes.

He distinguished AR content from video content because “it’s rendered in real time as opposed to pre-rendered video. The user rotates it in real time through every angle. Viewers hold the environment in their hands so they can see the details and interact with the product.”

The markers were inserted into print ads that ran in mid-July and August issues of Family Fun, Family Circle and People magazines. They can also be printed from the Web site.

Here at IR towers we feel that this offering is low on the ‘reality’ side of what we understand to be augmented reality, but it nevertheless represent a nod in the direction of a technology that will figure large in the future of internet retailing.

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