What if your photos could move, like they do in Harry Potter? With augmented reality they can.
Lifeprint got a head start wowing people with its augmented reality wizardry printer, but the 2×3 photos it spit out left a lot to be desired. People wanted bigger photos — shots they could really see — and now the company’s launching a larger AR printer that prints out 3×4.5 photos.
The new Lifeprinter is physically bigger to accommodate the larger prints, but barely more expensive. It’s priced at $150 (the original costs $130) and is available exclusively from Apple.
The magic printer uses the same kind of ZINK zero-ink paper as the original Lifeprint, meaning there’s no development time — your photos print out on the glossy paper inkjet-style. A pack of 20 3×4.5 ZINK paper runs you $30 and a pack of 40 is $50.
I had noticed augmented reality printers becoming a thing — Prynt Case and the HP Sprocket are two similar products that come to mind — but I had no idea they were becoming so popular.
Ahead of the new printer’s release, Lifeprint CEO Robert Macauley tells me its customers have printed a million photos with embedded AR videos hidden inside of them back in August.
On average, somewhere between 6,000-10,000 photos are printed through all original Lifeprint printers every day. And he’s expecting a quarter-million AR scans on Christmas.
Those numbers may not seem like much, but they’re impressive when you consider that most people still haven’t had their first taste of augmented reality.
Macauley says the primary reason they decided to make a larger version of the Lifeprint was simply because people wanted bigger prints for decorating.
There’s nothing wrong with 2×3 prints, but they’re more suitable for wallets as opposed to hung on walls.
And I can see that. My younger sister has dozens and dozens of Instax Mini photos and 2×3 ZINK photos tacked up on her walls, but they’re damn near impossible to look at without pressing your face up close to see the details.
3×4.5-inch photos look better on your walls. They’re perfect for sending to friends as postcards (believe it or not people still do this). And they’re also much easier to scan.
Compared to the smaller prints, i found the Lifeprint app was able to scan the larger photos better and faster.
Videos are still limited to a couple of seconds, but the effect is the same. It’s mind-blowing to essentially hold a video in your hand. What’s more awesome is that you can basically print out your Snaps or Instagram Story clips and hide them within these physical photos.
Digital photos aren’t going anywhere, but people are starting to value physical photos again.
More than just a printer, Macauley’s building out the device’s social features. With granted permission, you could send photos to a friend or family member’s printer and they’d be able to relive the memory by scanning the photo with their phones.
Imagine going on a vacation and sending photo to your mom. She then scans the photo and can see a short video of all the fun you’re having. Suddenly, printed photos literally have one more dimension.
It’s a bold dream, and who knows if augmented reality photos are a passing fad or here to stay. But one thing’s for sure: printing photos is fun again.
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