Amazon is changing its packaging to use less material, but it’s also adding quirky QR codes to its new boxes that let you scan and play with 3D models on your phone using Amazon’s AR Player app. The augmented reality experiences work on iOS and Android.
The first of Amazon’s QR codes is for an AR Pumpkin that changes appearance when you draw on it, like carving a digital jack-o-lantern. The pumpkin will show up on packages shipped between now and Halloween, so it’s possible some of your Prime day purchases will show up in one of the new boxes.
You can also download, draw on, and scan the AR pumpkin without a box.
- Download the Amazon AR Player app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
- If you don’t have a box to scan: open this link on your smartphone. Scroll down to “Didn’t Get a Box?” and tap the “follow these steps” link.
- If you’re using a QR code on a physical box: draw on the blank pumpkin with a black marker to give it a face. Once you’re ready, scan the QR code in the AR Player.
After scanning, the 3D pumpkin will appear in the AR Player’s camera mode. You can then customise the “carved” pumpkin with different colour options and accessories like bat wings, hats, eyewear, and more. The model normally just floats in the viewfinder, but new iPhones can use the 3D pumpkin as a selfie filter that tracks your head movement. Photos taken in the app can be shared with your contacts or posted on social media (oh, and don’t worry — Amazon doesn’t access or store the AR Player’s data).
The jack-o-lantern is the first of Amazon’s AR experiments, but it’s probably not the last. Amazon’s promotional material shows how the app can turn a box into a tiny AR car, conjure a digital corgi, and more.
When you’re done with those boxes, remember to recycle or repurpose them into something else — like a fort for your kids, emergency fire starters, or even substrate for growing oyster mushrooms at home (that’s what I use ‘em for).