Award-winning director creates voice-activated Augmented Reality Experience that boosts children’s confidence.
At first glance, Little Red the Inventor is a rather sweet-looking little AR app where you get to help out Little Red Riding Hood as she tries to make her way through the forest, out of trouble, and ultimately to her grandma’s house.
But this is a bit more than just the retelling of a classic fairy tale. For one, it was created and directed by Tuna Bora, whose work with Oscar-nominated Pearl also won her an Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Production Design. This gives it some notable pedigree, as does the fact it was produced by Nexus studios, which has a growing reputation for producing beautiful and thought-provoking interactive experiences using immersive tech.At first glance, Little Red the Inventor is a rather sweet-looking little AR app where you get to help out Little Red Riding Hood as she tries to make her way through the forest, out of trouble, and to grandma’s house Click To Tweet
Nexus studios has a growing reputation for producing beautiful and thought-provoking interactive experiences using immersive tech Click To Tweet
The story is part of a voice-activated AR app called Wonderscope which was recently released in collaboration with Chris Milk’s immersive storytelling company Within (their first major foray into Augmented Reality), and it explores the encouragement of movement, reading aloud and interactive play.
In this particular re-imagining, Little Red is an inventor looking to take her Grandma’s gardening to the next level. But to do that she’s going to have to learn to stand up to herself and venture beyond her own garden into Wolf Forest. Her mix of strength and vulnerability is something that I found quite refreshing, as it challenges many of the stereotypes we’ve come to expect not only in Fairy Tales (where there is some excuse) but also in the way that modern media still tends to portray young girls.
“It was an exciting fit to restructure a fairy tale since I had strong views on female-centric-entertainment,” Bora explains, adding that an animated AR project felt like a natural fit for her at this stage following from her work designing Pearl for VR.
Described as a “modern day AR fairy tale,” Little Red the Inventor engages children by making them empathise with the vulnerable character as her confidence falters and she beats herself up for failing in often quite poignant ways that might well resonate, specially with young girls.The story is part of a voice-activated AR app called Wonderscope which was recently released in collaboration with Chris Milk’s immersive storytelling company Within Click To Tweet
It’s an empowering use of the empathy factor for which VR is known Click To Tweet
I also liked the fact that the character was allowed to make mistakes, and that part of the fun of the mission was finding ways to fix them, like when Little Red is coaxed into telling the wolf where her grandmother lives. All is not lost, and that’s a good message of resilience, persistence, and adapting to challenges that kids (and grown-ups) can surely benefit from. By not only helping the character to find and activate crucial objects and puzzle her way through difficulties, but also providing encouragement when she might have given up, children learn and build their own confidence without ever realizing it. It’s a rather empowering use of the empathy factor for which the medium is known.
“Letting the audience sit with Little Red at the moment she hits rock bottom felt like a great opportunity to explore empathy in an interactive medium,” agrees Bora.
There is also a bit of a retro vibe to the experience that people of my generation (you know you’re old when you start saying things like that) might appreciate. Tuna collaborated with Pollen and sound designer Andrew Vernon to create a soundtrack that was inspired by some of her favourite early 90’s games. That might be an added bonus for parents keen to participate in the adventure along with their kids.
This article originally appeared on VRScout
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Alice Bonasio is a VR Consultant and Tech Trends’ Editor in Chief. She also regularly writes for Fast Company, Ars Technica, Quartz, Wired and others. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow @alicebonasio on Twitter.