When you hear the word 'pyjamas', you probably think of a nice bedtime story, sipping hot chocolate under a blanket and dreaming endlessly. For more than two decades, Belgian company Woody has succeeded in implementing these feelings in its pyjamas by letting its imagination run wild in their designs. In the future that will only happen more, because In The Pocket and Woody joined forces to develop an Augmented Reality application.
By being one of the first to focus on colorful pyjamas, Woody quickly became a success story, with more than a million pyjamas sold each year. By developing an AR experience, the company proves it’s innovative in other areas too. The AR app is activated when the animals on the pyjamas are scanned with a tablet or smartphone. The Woody creatures then literally come ‘alive’ as 3D avatars, which will go on an adventure in the virtual Woody World that is projected onto the wall or on the ground. The combination between the AI that recognizes the animals and the AR is a world premier. What's even more special is that the creatures will follow the user, which is different than most augmented reality that's being used today.
'As a company, we believe very strongly in the sale of our pajamas with added value for the customer and children. This distinguishes Woody as the market leader and will open more doors abroad!’
To achieve this, In The Pocket combined AI and AR to create this compelling experience. With the former technology, we made sure all of the variations of pyjamas - 63 in total - could be linked to one of the three different Woody characters. Our AI team used Google’s TensorFlow library to create a machine learning model that can recognize the animals when it sees them. We then implemented this model into the Woody World app, which is built with Unity.
Once the app has scanned the animal correctly, it uses Augmented Reality to understand the world around you. Depending on whether the app is running on Android or iOS, it uses ARCore or ARKit to find a flat surface like a floor or tabletop. If it finds a surface that is large enough, you can bring your beloved Woody character to life on it. Our AR engineers also use the detection of the surroundings to create a so-called navigation mesh: this way our little Woody character knows where it can walk and will naturally avoid obstacles like walls or furniture as you play with it.
To test our concept, we organized a user validation with 20 children between 6 and 10 years old. Together with their parents, they were invited to the Woody showroom to listen to the Woody World stories and give their feedback. We each selected four children from the audience and observed them while they discovered the app without being given much explanation.
The general response was very good, the children enjoyed it and were triggered to play with the animals. Sometimes the behavior of the characters was not so clear, they for instance disappeared from the picture when they stopped following. We have also discovered that the buttons should always be against the edges of the tablet screen, so that they are accessible to small children's hands.