FlexReality brings you AR_Book, a deeply-immersive educational platform with a slightly misleading title. If you’re not familiar, AR (Augmented Reality) books usually present you with the ability to point your phone at a section of a physical book, at which point images from the said book will appear in 3D. This is a neat little gimmick that’s been around for more than ten years but has yet to really take off. AR_Book takes this concept to another level, allowing you to view various lessons, called experiments, on a clean surface of your choice. While far from being perfect, AR_Book does provide a meaningful glimpse at the possible future of learning.
The first thing to leap out at you (literally) is the graphics. This app provides some of the smoothest animations I’ve ever seen. The animations are so well-executed that for a moment, I forgot I was looking at a loading screen. This carries over into the augmented reality portion. There are no skips, glitches, or hiccups once the app gets going. It even recommends you clean your camera and the surface you’re pointing at to ensure a good experience.
From the few hours I spent in the app, there is no upgrading, no ads, and no paid version. You simply download and go. AR_Book does offer the ability to register an account to track your progress. From there, I was able to access Astronomy, Biology, and Chemistry without issue. I chose the Astronomy experiment for this review.
Though the lessons do take a moment to get going, Astronomy was very accessible and a lot of fun. This is where AR_Book shines. Watching the moon rotate around the earth while accounting for lighting and shadow was incredible. As this is happening you’re given pleasant audio narration that details exactly what is happening. The astronomy experiment allowed me to progress the moon’s cycles through a week on Earth, explaining things like Waxing Gibbous and such. I easily lost half an hour while going through this alone. If Astronomy is any indication, AR_Book gives you a lot of content for nothing.
The app does fall short in a few places. The user interface, especially when you’re first starting out, can be cumbersome and a little overwhelming. I tried to register an email for courses. It took over an hour for the registration to arrive. Signing up for courses is an outright nightmare, and it’s fortunate that FlexReality allows you to bypass this because this feature needs a lot of work. AR_Book also runs into issues when it comes to language. You can set the language of your choice but if often defaults to Ukranian, making for a very confusing experience at times.
Overall, AR_Book is a great little science experiment in the vein of Augmented Reality games. It’s not perfect, but the fact you get so much quality material for free makes it easily stand out. Skip the registration process, have fun, and learn things.