Explore an intricate labyrinth with smartphone AR

A new game on iOS and Android sees you exploring an augmented reality maze, using the technology in new and exciting ways.

(Credit: Darf Design)

A new game on iOS and Android sees you exploring an augmented reality maze, using the technology in new and exciting ways.

Augmented reality is pretty interesting, but we think it's pretty safe to say that it hasn't hit its stride yet. We had a bit of fun with NASA's Spacecraft 3D app, and we've seen a few that let you blast things in your immediate environment (with or without peripherals). Even the Nintendo 3DS has AR markers — although we don't know anyone who actually uses them.

Hermaton, however, is something we haven't seen before. Created by London-based studio Darf Design's Sahar Fikouhi and Arta Toulami, it sees you using an AR marker, not to create foes to defeat, but an environment to explore.

And not just any environment. Hermaton's world is a labyrinthine structure of pipes and chambers intricately interwoven with blue wires. The aim is to explore the structure, navigating the red ball in the middle of the screen around the pipes and chambers, touching light bulbs with symbols on them with the ball to turn them on.

However, it's not all smooth sailing: touch the blue wires too many times, and it's game over.

Overall, it involves quite a bit of moving about — moving your device not just on a flat two-dimensional plane, but in and out as you duck and weave around the structure in three dimensions.

It's fascinating to play — but that's not where it ends. "Our future hope for the game is to provide this immersive experience in a number of large scale installations," said Darf Design in a blog post. "Our upcoming event will be in San Francisco during Augmented World Expo 2013 (4-5 June), where we will debut Hermaton at an amazing three-by-three-metre AR installation to allow users to physically navigate through a full scale version of the app."

Given how interesting we found just the small-scale table-top version, we'll be waiting eagerly for the release of a massive poster-sized marker for more of the fun at home.

Hermatron is free for both iOS and Android.

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