In 2016, Nintendo and Niantic proved two things to the world. One: adults are more than willing to risk physical harm or robbery if it means they can digitally possess adorable Japanese creatures. Two: augmented reality can thrive as an entertainment platform.
Following Pokemon Go’s success, pop culture fans began to discuss other franchises that would benefit from the AR treatment. One of the most popular requests for a follow-up would take place in the wizarding world of Harry Potter. The universe of Harry Potter would be a natural fit for an augmented reality experience and one programmer is going out of his way to prove it.
Asad Malik is a 21-year-old student at Bennington College in Nevada. This is a liberal arts college that lets students design their own degree programs. In a Skype interview, Malik said he has chosen to pursue a degree in augmented reality. As part of this, he is working to build what he calls the “YouTube of augmented reality,” for Microsoft’s HoloLens AR headset.
This would be a platform capable of housing a multitude of different experiences for the HoloLens. One of these would be the Harry Potter experience seen in the above video. Malik explained that this experience has three spells (Incendio for burning, a Patronus for warding off the occasional Dementor, and Wingardium Leviosa for moving digital objects around the room).
These spells are triggered by a user’s voice as well as a physical wand that can be held and used with gesture tracking. According to Malik, “the HoloLens is already capable of tracking your fingers so if you have a sharp stick at the right orientation you can still trigger basic commands. It wasn’t that much extra work to get that to work.”
Malik is aiming to release the full AR platform at the end of this month and plans to keep updating the Harry Potter experience with new powers and more actions. He hopes that this will encourage the development of a Harry Potter Go experience by showing bigger developers that it can be done.