I went to Walmart the other day looking for a dinosaur coloring book, as co-pilots of road trips do, and was suddenly intrigued by an interesting package design across the isle. As nerdy as it may sound, juxtaposing elements will always pull me to investigate a product on a shelf over others.
This box was matte black and featured a dinosaur and a child wearing a phone VR set. It’s bringing natural history and modern technology together — in a box that your could purchase at Walmart and take home. Augmented and virtual reality aren’t necessarily new in the perspective of how fast handheld technology is evolving, but it’s still exciting to have this technology so easily accessible. And it was just about $7.
So of course I ditched the coloring book and grabbed a clean, sealed box. The contents were a VR headset that your smartphone clips on, a guide pamphlet, a microfiber cleaning cloth and a deck of 20 dinosaur flashcards. These flashcards weren’t cookie-cutter design, either, these were top-notch designs.
The instructions are simple, in fact they’re easy enough that young kids could use it. Actually, the box says “Ages 7+” but I know for a fact even younger kids could operate the app. Basically, after launching the app , point the phone’s camera at any of the dinosaur profile flashcards and a 3D, moving dinosaur will appear standing over the card. A crazy thing to mention is that the flashcard don’t have barcodes on them so it’s very cool to see the phone scanning a regular image.
A few features include seeing the dinosaur move, some dinosaurs could be transformed into skeletal version of themselves and had the ability to capture the photo. Each dinosaur on screen came with a simple “Fun Fact” that could’ve definitely been more fun or cool. I will admit, the graphics aren’t super realistic. Also, I have the iPhone X and their app isn’t calibrated properly since some parts cut off.
This product, which also comes with space and animal-theme flashcards, sold separately, would be so much cooler if it weren’t static. A company could truly make this product educational if they updated the dinosaurs’ information, worked on the UI/UX of the app and released more flashcards with more dinosaurs.
All in all, this educational and entertaining tool is still pretty cool. My adult, designer mind ran with some creative critique but kids might just enjoy it for how it is.
You could download the app for free and try it yourself. Dinosaur 4D+ is the name of the app. And the front of the box included the Triceratops card as a tester so I’m sure I won’t get in trouble for sharing that card. Octagon Studios is the company responsible for this amazing product along with Utopia360.