Many of those who aren’t familiar with augmented reality are convinced that the technology is only a fad. But the truth is: the applications of AR extend way beyond the world of gaming. As a matter of fact, AR can potentially disrupt nearly every industry and transform them for the better.
Augmented reality has been fueling the fight for social change way before the commercialization of AR headsets. Non-profits have been using it to create immersive experiences that help people see the world from a different perspective. Telling such narratives opens people’s eyes to the realities that significant minorities face every day.
Let’s take a look at three AR applications in non-profit organizations.
Boosting Blood Donations
The National Health Service ran an out-of-home digital campaign to motivate people to donate blood. They gave passersby some stickers to place on their arms. By hovering a smartphone over the sticker, users could see an AR needle, plaster, and tube. On a billboard in front of them, they could see an empty blood bag with a sick patient. As the bag becomes filled with blood, the patient gradually gets better.
Non-profit organizations are also using AR for wildlife and environmental conservation. To do that, they have to spread awareness of the issues that affect wildlife and their natural habitats. Not everyone has the privilege of watching elephants roam in the wild, but AR can recreate such encounters for people. Through hard-hitting messages, non-profits can trigger enough emotions to motivate people into taking action.
Safari Central: Wildlife AR
Internet of Elephants’ Safari Central app, for example, brings six different animals to users’ daily life. Users can take selfies with the animals and place miniature versions of them in the palm of their hand. More importantly, they can get to know more about each animal’s life and struggles, as well as learn more about organizations that are working hard to protect them.
Another app that’s bringing animals to life is Krikey. Within the app, users can find an interactive AR game called Gorillas!. Players’ only objective is to keep a baby gorilla well-fed and happy. By moving their smartphone around the room, players can find termite mounds and berry bushes to feed it with. The Ellen Fund helped develop the game to raise awareness of conservation efforts for the mountain gorillas. Players can send donations to The Ellen Fund directly from the app itself.
Take a Picture with the Leopard
WWF-Armenia also launched a similar campaign, for the conservation of the Caucasian leopard, called Take a Picture with the Leopard. Teaming up with immersive app and game developer ARLOOPA, they made an app that superimposed a 3D image of a leopard on mobile screens. Users were asked to post photos with the virtual leopard, along with info about the animal or a conservation message. Chosen by a panel of judges, winners received brand new mountain bikes. By far, it was WWF-Armenia’s most successful awareness-raising campaign.
Aside from spreading awareness, fundraising is at the heart of non-profit organizations. Thanks to immersive technologies, they can take people deeper into the roots of the problems. The International Committee of the Red Cross, for example, launched an AR campaign called Enter the Room.
It showed a first-hand experience of an impending war. Augmented reality takes audiences into the room of a child affected by war. Furthermore, it shows how war affects that child’s life over time.
Not many non-profit organizations have embraced augmented reality. Fortunately, the few who have leveraged its capabilities have seen success. Without a doubt, AR can help non-profits raise awareness and engage people on an emotional level. Not to mention, it can encourage people to donate or take action for the cause.
For AR to be an effective tool for charity, non-profits must think about the ideal type of interaction for their cause.