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Brief Published: 27 Nov 2019

Nature-Spotting App Lets Kids Engage with Wildlife


New augmented reality (AR) app Seek uses image recognition technology to teach kids about surrounding flora and fauna in real time. The digital interface gamifies the education of nature, and encourages users to gather data to help scientists monitor global wildlife.

The app functions like popular AR gaming app Pokémon Go, but interacts with nature instead. Users point their phone camera at a plant or animal they want to identify, and Seek scans the object. Then, using artificial intelligence and image-recognition technology, it attempts to match the photo to one of around 30,000 species that it currently recognises. Once the animal or plant is determined, the app displays information about the species, and adds it to the user’s digital collection.

To appeal to kids, the app gamifies learning by letting users unlock achievements when they scan enough species, and invites them to join in with monthly wildlife-seeking challenges. The app also asks for permission to add collected image data to nature-lovers’ social network iNaturalist – a global biodiversity database which also helps scientists and environmentalists monitor the wellbeing of the planet.

While anyone can use the app, its co-creators – global wildlife-preservation charity WWF and iNaturalist – see children and youth as its main target market. “Today’s young people will be the stewards of our planet in the years to come, and Seek aims to inspire the next generation of nature ‘champions’ to protect and care for the home we all share,” states the WWF.

Seek will likely win praise from today’s youngest consumers – sustainability natives who are being raised with an awareness of climate change and environmental impacts. For more on creating products and services that resonate with today’s planet-conscious youth, see Reaching Eco Demographics, part of our Macro Trend Towards Our Sustainable Future.

Seek also nods to a future where an interactive digital layer will be overlaid on reality, as discussed in Enter the Mirrorworld. This will provide new opportunities for brands to connect with their consumers away from static screens. See The Consumer of 2035: Digital Worlds for more on the future blur between digital and physical experiences.