Zappar – Pure Tech Fun!

Sometimes tech is just plain fun. Sure, most of the time you expect tech to be useful – to teach you, organize you, or make your life more efficient. But it’s important not to neglect the fact that tech can be amazingly fun.

Zappar is a company whose mission is to make tech fun. If Zappar doesn’t put a smile on your face, well then I’m sorry because you must be having a really bad day. Zappar adds a new dimension to your world to make it silly, goofy and entertaining.

Zappar takes things that you see every day, such as t-shirts, hats, magazines, and movie posters, and uses augmented reality to make them much more interesting. But Zappar’s augmented reality is more than a 3D image, Zappar brings a new dimension to augmented reality. With Zappar, you can manipulate an image to play games, musical instruments and, well, just have fun.

I recently spoke with Caspar Thykier, Founder and Managing Director of Zappar, who told me, “We’re in the business of reinvention, sprinkling magic dust on existing product categories with a digital angle to it. Our mission is to create bite-sized entertainment using augmented reality.”

Thykier explained that augmented reality has been around since the 1960’s but has existed mostly in laboratories and universities. “It’s always been tech for tech’s sake. No one has really thought about it in terms of what everyday consumers would use it for.”

Zappar decided to bring augmented reality to products to use it for fun and joy. The company designed the technology to be easy and intuitive to use. “We don’t want people to think about the technology, we want them to enjoy the experience.”

Zappar entered into licenses to bring the technology to brands such as Major League Baseball, Harry Potter, Batman, Wired magazine, Marvel and Disney. Zappar apparel ranges from cool designs to branded ones, and the technology has expanded to greeting cards in the UK and MLB Fan Cave in the US.

To use Zappar, download the free Zappar app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch from the iTunes App Store or for your Android device from Google Play. Next point your device at a Zap, find the Zap on the app, and press the Zap button. The Zap will come alive and you can start to play.

Here’s a video showing how it works:

What makes Zappar unique is that you can control what the augmented reality does from the app. For example, a Zappar t-shirt with a drum set lets you play the drums from your device when you Zap it. Some Zaps are games that let you play as you’re Zapping someone’s shirt. You never know what you’re going to get when you Zap someone. “It just makes you laugh. There’s something about it that’s so unexpected, it’s just fun,” said Thykier.

You can try out a Zap at Zappar’s website to see how its website is transformed into an animated experience.

Later this year, you’ll also able to take pictures and video from within the app to share using social media and text messages. Zappar also plans to have a place on its website where people can share images and videos of their Zaps.

Zappar recently announced that it will be expanding its line of apparel in November when it launches its Zaphats, just in time for the holiday season. While Zaphats look like normal, everyday hats, people with the Zappar app will be able to change that reality to animate and interact with the hats.

Check out this video showing how Zaphats come to life:

My favorite hat in the video is the one that transforms into a TV where the viewer can actually change the channels. When I asked Thykier what would be shown on the TV, he advised me that I would have to “stay tuned” to find out. In the future, Thykier would like to see people being able to personalize their Zaphats, such as setting their own channels on the TV hat, perhaps connecting it to their favorite YouTube channels.

You can sign up here to be notified of the Zaphat launch.

Zappar apparel (a/k/a Zapparel) is currently available in the US in Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, Macy’s, JC Penney and other retailers. In the UK, look for Zapparel and greeting cards in Tesco and Asda. Zappar also sells products in Canada, Mexico and South Africa. You can search for Zappar apparel on its website.

Do you like tech that’s just plain fun? Would you like to see a Zap in action? Do you like the idea of interactive augmented reality? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section below!

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Comments

  1. says

    Looks like a lot of fun to me; it will be neat when you can take a picture from the image. Where do these people come up with these ideas……

    Guess I better download and try it out, huh?

    Thanks for keeping us on the cutting edge.
    Bill Dorman recently published this awesome post..You don’t have to be perfectMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Bill, I think you’re going to love this. It’s not often that you find tech with a sense of humor, but Zappar does it well. I also like how they continue to innovate making the augmented reality even more interactive.

      Let me know how you like it. :-)
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Kindle 2012 News Aplenty!My Profile

  2. says

    Hi Carolyn,

    It sounds different! Sometimes technology from the lab needs to be used for something fun just so people know about it. Then it can inspire something more useful! We need more inspiration to innovate and invent.

    I just need inspiration today! I intend to give up on writing for today and go shopping…
    Mike Maynard recently published this awesome post..How to write an inspired blogMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Mike, Yes, Thykier and his co-founders are British, from Cambridge University. I think the greeting cards are great, but they’re only available in the UK, they haven’t come to the US yet.

      I hope you enjoy your well-deserved break from writing, Mike!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Tech to Brighten Your Mood!My Profile

  3. Dadblunders says

    It seems like they keeps bringing life and virtual reality closer and closer doesn’t it? I keep waiting for the day we have something similar Star Trek with holi-decks (I know I am living in a dream world but at least I am dreaming! :)

    Carolyn, I love your blog and all you do for the Wonders of Technology I nominate you for Super Sweet Blogging Award

    Aaron
    Dadblunders recently published this awesome post..Super Sweet Blogging AwardMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Aaron, Wow, thank you kindly for the Super Sweet Blogger Award! I am very honored and congratulations to you for winning it for your marvelous blog.

      I was very impressed with the quality of licenses that Zappar got very early in its business so I wouldn’t be shocked if it got Star Trek as well. That’s a great idea, Aaron! :-bd
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..iPhone 5 News Aplenty!My Profile

  4. Aditya says

    Hi Carolyn,
    I think Zap is the real App for entertainment.I like Zaphat the most.Thykier has really made this app for real fun.Its quite amazing how a person can be seen in different modes.
    Impressive app it is.

  5. says

    Hi Carolyn

    Well, this is my first time to know Zappar. It seem a good App can give me fun and different experience.OK i will download and use it.Thanks for sharing.:)

    Puck

  6. says

    Sounds like fun to me…never heard of such a thing before, got a lot to learn from your insights on a regular basis. Really appreciate you bringing all this tech-news to us in such a presentable manner.

    Zappar can make it big with such an innovation and kids will absolutely go crazy with all the fun stuff. Have to download the app.
    Praveen Rajarao recently published this awesome post..The “Panda Dundee” SEO strategyMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Praveen, Guaranteed your kids are going to love this! When the developer contacted me I was so excited to bring this to Wonder of Tech readers. I hadn’t heard of Zappar before but I knew that tech this cool and easy to use would be a big hit with a lot of people.

      I hope you and your kids enjoy Zappar, Praveen!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..iPhone 5 News Aplenty!My Profile

  7. Angel says

    Hi Caroline,
    Is this aplication something I
    could use in my blog? Or is only for tablets?
    Zappar can make people feel less bored when dealing with a blogger. It is a good post, thanks.

    • says

      Hi Angel, Very nice to see you back here at The Wonder of Tech! Zappar is a mobile app that works with Android and iOS (Apple) devices that have a camera. So unfortunately no, you cannot use this with your blog unless you were to write about it as I did. :-)