Merge Labs brings its AR-enabled educational cube to social media.
When Merge Labs launched their Merge Cube in 2017, the device instantly changed how people could access AR experiences. Instead of an expensive $3,000 headset like Microsoft’s HoloLens, the Merge Cube is a $20 AR-enabled cube that you can toss in a backpack, throw across the room, or drop on the floor without having to worry about it smashing into thousands of tiny pieces.
You can even download a free printout of the cube and save yourself the 20 bucks.
Since its launch the Merge Cube become a widely used tool among K12 educators. Now that same AR supertool is coming to both Instagram and Facebook thanks to Facebook’s own AR developer platform, Spark AR. Considering that there are over 400,000 plus creators in 190 countries using Spark AR, things are about to get even more interesting for the remote education sector.
Content creators, educators, and even students are able to bring their creative AR objects into social media through an Instagram post, Reels, and even the popular time-sucking Instagram Stories. To do it, all you need is a smartphone, an Instagram or Facebook account, and a Merge Cube.
Merge Cube made it easy to bring interactive content into the learning environment without a high cost. It was so impressive that Merge Labs walked away with multiple accolades from technology-focused education organizations such as ISTE, American Association of School Librarians, and Pädagogischer Medienpreis.
Ask any educator, AR revs up the classroom when blended with more traditional learning methods. It opens up imagination and lets learners do things they normally can’t do in the real world such as hold the universe or a beating heart in your hands.
Bringing educational AR into social media takes some planning. The Merge team worked very closely with the Spark AR team to ensure that their AR content could fit within platforms like Instagram and Facebook in a way that was fun but still educational. It had to be engaging but easily shareable with friends. Since schools all over the world have moved to a hybrid model due to COVID-19, social media has become another pathway in education.
Tonya Diaz-Rothman, who goes by the Instagram name @Giftedteacher305, has been uploading videos of her educational content since she first discovered the Merge Cube. She must be doing something right, because she now has over 56K followers checking in to see how she is blending AR, social media, and education together for the ultimate virtual classroom. Her posts get a lot of likes and comments from fellow educators looking to do the same in their classrooms. For many, she’s considered an education rock star!
Launching a Merge AR filter on Instagram is super easy. Just visit the Merge Instagram on your phone, click the face filter icon you want to check out, hold up your Merge Cube (doesn’t matter if it’s the paid version or the free printable version) in front of your selfie camera and watch the AR content come to life.
There are currently four filters available at the moment but you can expect more to arrive soon:
- Human Body — Hold a beating heart, skull, brain, and lungs in the palm of your hand using Merge Cube and Instagram.
- Cells — Get an up-close look at a microscopic plant cell, animal cell, fungal cell, and neuron using the Merge Cube and Instagram.
- Viruses — Safely hold and study viruses like the common cold and COVID-19 in the palm of your hand with Merge Cube and Instagram.
- The Solar System — Hold the entire solar system in your hand with Instagram and the Merge Cube, and learn about the axial tilt, rotation, and revolution of the Earth and Moon.
In an official press release, Franklin Lyons, Founder at Merge said, “Our international community of educators on Instagram and Facebook now have a new resource available to their students and audiences.” Lyons adds, “Using the Merge Cube within Instagram unlocks amazing potential for engagement, learning and discovery.”
Of course, this is just the beginning for Merge Labs. Like other companies and their use of social media, the future will see everything from gaming, e-commerce opportunities, and socialAR all being unlocked through a Merge Cube. At least that’s the idea.
Image Credit: Merge Labs