Adventure Park to be­come Magic Park

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE -

An Auckland tech startup that is aim­ing to use tech­nol­ogy to get chil­dren off the couch and out­side has launched a Kick­starter cam­paign to raise money.

Geo AR Games has set an ini­tial tar­get of $10,000 and al­ready nearly 50 back­ers have pledged more than half of that amount, with three weeks days still to go on the cam­paign.

Co-founder Melanie Lan­glotz said the busi­ness wanted to use the money to fund prod­uct de­vel­op­ment and ed­u­cate more par­ents about healthy gam­ing op­tions.

If the fund­ing tar­get is reached the busi­ness could fin­ish the de­vel­op­ment of Sharks in the Park, the com­pany’s first prod­uct.

Adventure Park in Whitby has been cho­sen as one of a hand­ful of New Zealand sites to pi­lot the new Dig­i­tal Play­ground app, called Mag­i­cal Park. The app will also fea­ture Fan­ta­sia Land, where chil­dren can chase af­ter kit­tens.

The game uses geospa­tial aug­mented re­al­ity to com­bine a vir­tual world with the real world – the user can run around a park hold­ing a mo­bile de­vice in front of them while col­lect­ing vir­tual schools of fish and try­ing to avoid vir­tual sharks.

The game can­not be played in­side and the big­ger the area out­side, the big­ger the world that can be ex­plored.

‘‘A lot of par­ents have trou­ble get­ting their kids to go out­side be­cause they are so ad­dicted to tech­nol­ogy.

‘‘We want to use our game to re­con­nect them with na­ture,’’ Lan­glotz said.

‘‘The game coaxes kids out­side and af­ter play­ing for 30 min­utes or an hour of run­ning around, they tend to get in­ter­ested in ac­tiv­i­ties they had for­got­ten about, and then nat­u­rally start to play tag or hide and seek.’’

If the Kick­starter cam­paign reaches $75,000, it would al­low Geo AR Games to build a func­tion that would al­low users to cre­ate their own imag­i­nary worlds and then in­ter­act with them when they go out­side and ex­plore.

The com­pany was also one of nine to be cho­sen for the first fe­male-fo­cused Light­ning Lab busi­ness ac­cel­er­a­tor pro­gramme.

Through that pro­gramme, it has re­cruited for­mer Weta de­signer and de­vel­oper Tay­lor Car­rasco.

The pro­gramme fin­ishes with a demo day in June, when all the teams pitch to in­vestors.

Amie Wolken, left, Tay­lor Car­rasco and Melanie Lan­glotz of Geo AR Games want to change chil­dren’s re­la­tion­ships with tech­nol­ogy.

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