(Pocket-lint) - The BBC's recent nature programme, The Green Planet, is a phenomenally detailed and vibrant look at plant life around the world, and it's jaw-droppingly pretty viewed in 4K on a quality display. That said, there's nothing quite like being embedded in an environment to make you engage with it.
That's the theory behind a new month-long installation on Piccadilly Circus in London, a team-up between the 5G networking team at EE, the BBC and Factory 42. The Green Planet AR Experience equips visitors with a Samsung Galaxy S21 and some headphones, before sending them into a series of rooms to explore an augmented reality (AR) world.
You'll move through underwater seascapes and drenched river deltas, and mountainous slopes, each room fairly bare until you look through your phone's screen to see the AR version bedecked in plants and wildlife. With Sir David Attenborough narrating to you, zooming in on the right areas and discovering how the plants survive is genuinely diverting.
While AR is very much an established part of the smartphone world, it's still something that most people almost never use, and this is a more convincing use case than we've encountered in ages - we can very much imagine a museum making great use of the technique to keep a rowdy school group from rioting about, for example.
That said, some small technical hitches underlined that it's still far from easy to make these AR installations work seamlessly, whether it's the virtual environments getting out of sync with the real-life walls at points, or the phone's cameras losing track entirely and needing to be reset by staff members.
Still, for anyone in the middle of London in the next few weeks it's a great time-passer that expands the sense of connection you get from watching The Green Planet - it's open from today until 9 March 2022, and you can book free tickets online here.