Daqri's Elements 4D augmented reality app aims to educate the masses

The company is using Kickstarter as a way to create a broader audience for its technology, and to learn what the audience thinks is cool.

Dan Farber
2 min read
Daqri's app viewfinder instantly transforms physical blocks etched with chemical symbols into augmented reality representations. Turning the blocks and placing two together creates a reaction, displaying a virtual chemical compound, such as H2O made from oxygen and hydrogen. Daqri

Daqri is getting into the Kickstarter game to promote an app aimed at bringing augmented reality into the mainstream. Elements 4D enables an augmented reality experience using six physical blocks engraved with different symbols of the periodic table. Combining the blocks creates various chemical reactions that appear on a tablet or smartphone screen in 3D in the Elements 4D app viewer. "It is the first killer app for augmented reality," the company boasted.

"We wanted to design a product from the ground up that had augmented reality [which Daqri calls '4D'] at its core. Up until now it's been layered on top of something and more of an afterthought," said Daqri CEO Brian Mullins.

Anatomy 4D, a Daqri app available for iOS and Android, allows users to see detailed 3D images of the human anatomy and bodily systems by pointing a smartphone or tablet at a target image the company provides. Elements 4D offers a more interactive learning experience, Mullins said.

Read: The next big thing in tech -- augmented reality

"Elements 4D pushes the limits of what we can do and demonstrates that people can learn faster and retain more by combining digital and physical together at the same time," he said.

Daqri recently raised $15 million in private investment and has built more than 1,000 augmented reality experiences for clients including Cadillac, Sony, and Lego. The company is using Kickstarter as a way create an audience for its technology, and recoup some of the costs of the project.

Kickstarter contributors to the $50,000 campaign can receive a range of prizes for their investments, from Daqri's "warmest thanks" for a $1 investment to six laser-etched aluminum blocks as well as a personalized interactive 4D block for $5,000.

"Augmented reality is at the point where more people are engaging with it, and it's becoming a viable medium. We need to understand more about what people want," said Mullins. "We want to collaborate with the user base to finish out the experiences. We want to add on to Elements 4D to show molecular and atomic structures, for example, but we want to hear what the audience thinks is cool and to understand more about what they would engage with."

Daqri isn't alone in using Kickstarter crowdsourcing to get noticed. Artiphany launched a Kickstarter campaign today to fund development of augmented-reality greeting cards that use Daqri's technology.