Clothing has joined the interactive, digital world.
Download an app to a tablet or smartphone, scan an image incorporated into the design of the shirt an 8-year-old girl is wearing and she can be launched into the digital world of the popular Hello Kitty brand.
RealityBOOST, a South Miami-Dade company, has built an app designed for the kids’ apparel company Evy of California, which is the U.S. licensee for Hello Kitty.
The app, KuKee, is believed to be the first of its kind to activate an entire clothing collection using augmented reality (AR), which allows consumers to add a digital layer of technology to a physical product.
“We’re looking forward to the day when kids ask their friends, ‘What does your shirt do?’ ” said Joel Rivera, RealityBOOST’s director of operations.
The trigger to KuKee’s digital layer comes in a unique yet familiar form: Hello Kitty apparel and accessories for girls.
“With a product like Hello Kitty, we are able to mainstream AR,” said Edwin Rivera, president of RealityBOOST. “We want it to stand out so people can see the potential behind the latest technology.”
When the app is loaded on a mobile device, the user aims it at a unique “flag tag” marker on the garment. KuKee’s marker is a tag with Hello Kitty’s face on it.
The digital component is then activated for use.
The digital portal of Evy of California’s back-to-school Hello Kitty apparel features a photo booth experience that can be shared through social networks and email. The user takes a photo of a subject and then, through the virtual photo booth, the subject interacts with Hello Kitty items.
The apparel is exclusively at Macy’s initially, but is set to expand to other retailers.
“To keep things fresh, we already have new digital prizes set for the January and April Hello Kitty collections,” Edwin Rivera said.
RealityBOOST is also working on integrating AR into education by enhancing books and other instructional tools.
“AR has the potential to capture a kid’s attention and educate them,” Joel Rivera said. “With the innovations coming in AR, the everyday shirt and book is going to become a digital experience.”