BBC Earth's New AR App Brings Ants And Spiders Into Your Living Room

The BBC’s latest AR experiment brings exotic ants and spiders into your living room, provided you have a Magic Leap.

BBC Earth – Micro Kingdoms: Senses is a collaboration between the British organization, developer Preloaded and Magic Leap itself. Narrated by Stephen Fry (who does an excellent David Attenborough stand-in), the app guides you through the lives of smaller critters in the animal kingdom. One is the Leaf Cutter Ant colony, found in Central American rainforests, while the other is Eastern Brazil’s Wandering Spider.

If you thought the spider might be the more squeamish of the two then fair warning; the ants can fly. Check it out in the trailer below.

For the BBC, this is a continuation of the work it started with the Life in VR experience on Google Daydream a few years ago. “Spatial computing allows us to tell stories that understand the space you’re in and then respond accordingly,” Phil Stuart, Creative Director at Preloaded, told UploadVR. “This understanding – or ‘World Context’ – pretty much flips the rulebook for storytellers, and opens up a whole world of possibilities. The user is part of the storytelling, and this active role encourages them to lean in, to get up close, to explore and interact with the new inhabitants.”

“By placing stories in the space around you it changes the context in which they are told,” Tom Burton, Head of Interactive, BBC Studios, added. “It engages rather than isolates. You are not asked to dim the lights and watch a screen or shut out the world by putting on a headset, the story is happening right there in front of you.”

But that’s not all; the teams also gathered for this Making Of video to talk about the project.

It looks to be a pretty fascinating piece, bringing nature that we’ve previously only glimpsed at on TV sets and inside zoos directly into living rooms. But the reason it works, in Burton’s mind, is because the BBC itself is already well-verse in telling these stories.

“At the heart of what we do is great storytelling,” he said. “Whether that’s in a spatial computing platform like Magic Leap, Life in VR or a landmark documentary like Blue Planet II. The fundamentals stay the same.”

Micro Kingdoms: Senses is available on Magic Leap from today.

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