The year was 2015 when a group of 3D artists and developers with a passion for augmented reality (AR) decided to break away from their day job in an engineering company to establish their own augmented reality (AR) studio. Expanding from its main headquarter in the city of Bandung, Indonesia, Octagon Studio Ltd. has now grown to have offices in Dublin, Pinewood Studios UK, and the US.
“AR was still relatively new back then, especially for the Indonesian market. We created a deck of AR animal flashcards that you could scan with the Animal 4D+ app to see the animals come to life on screen. It was more of an experiment, really, and we initially didn’t expect much out of it. Surprisingly, when we showed the cards around at several local exhibitions, the response was overwhelmingly positive. That’s when we were sure that there were markets for AR products and it does have a future,” narrated Stella Setyiadi, the company’s CMO.
The Animal 4D+ is in fact the first of the 4D+ flashcard series the company has been developing up to this moment, covering various topics including space, dinosaurs, professions, the human body, and its latest addition into the bunch, aircrafts. Most of the cards are in the form of physical products that they market through a chain of resellers, retailers, and licenses across multiple countries while the apps are free to download. However, with the History of Aircrafts 4D+, they have just recently enabled in-app purchase to allow the users to print the cards by themselves. That was an addition to the AR Simultaneous Location and Mapping (SLAM) feature which was set as the app’s main feature for compatible devices.
With the 4D+ series, Octagon Studio aims to use AR as a tool to engage young audience of 5-12 years old by making studying sessions more interesting. Now, they have a chance to incorporate AR into the Discovery #Mindblown, a STEM app with video, AR experience, and mini game contents through a collaboration with Discovery Communications. Last year, they also won the UK Space Agency’s “Space for All” grant to create an app to inspire children to work closer to the stars when they grow up – as an attempt to earn new recruits in the “graying” space industry. The result was a free-to-download app called the AR Adventure in Space which lets players to explore the exterior and interior of the International Space Station (ISS) in AR as an intern.
“Last year was a good year,” said Stella with a smile, “but we do realize that AR is a growing business. It has its ups and downs throughout the years. That’s why aside from developing our own products, we also work with various partners and clients in B2B businesses. It’s always exciting to share the wonders and huge possibilities that AR has. With the correct implementation, you can get definitely get the “wow” factor out of it.”
Kevin Joyce has been working with immersive technology since 2013, establishing VRFocus.com as one of the leading AR and VR publications before joining Admix, a non-intrusive advertising platform designed specifically for immersive experiences, as Lead Evangelist.