Made with china: introducing wearable augmented reality technology to the world

The future of augmented reality has taken a dramatic twist with the introduction of wearable technology…on your nails! Metaverse Makeovers founder and CEO Thea Baumann has broken through the great technology fire wall and created wearable virtual reality.

Founded in 2012, Metaverse Makeovers is an interdisciplinary team of artists, creative technologists, developers, and marketers who design, develop, and commercialise augmented reality wearables and social experiences for emerging markets and the Internet Generation. The company’s first wearable tech product is Metaverse Nails, fashion accessories powered by a 3D social mobile app.

At this year’s Creative3 Forum in Brisbane, Thea told the group of eager entrepreneurs and investors how she broke into the Asian technology market. With a game artist background, this opened Thea’s eyes to the world of virtual reality, in particular, wearable technology. Spending two and a half years living in Shanghai, it gave her a unique insight into the workings of the technology market in Asia. This inspired Thea to create the product with an Asian target market in mind.

Watch Thea’s Creative3 talk

However, creating a new product in an international market is not always smooth sailing. Getting to know a new culture and truly understanding it is the first step to a successful international business Thea told her captivated audience. In sharing her experiences in an international arena, Thea cautioned the budding entrepreneurs that developing apps for volatile internet ecosystem is another major challenge. The apps must appeal to the target market, meaning research into the culture and behaviour of people is paramount to the company’s success.

With 93 million young women in China who are extremely active on social media, this extended Metaverse Makeover’s reach. During her presentation, Thea told the audience there were 31 million people in China who buy and download social media nail apps. The apps allow users to share photos and videos of augmented nails.

Manufacturing patterned wearable tech products was Thea’s next challenge. Working with local Chinese artists, Thea was able to localise the wearable technology to suit the digital generation target market. Thea then started working in Vietnamese nail salons with technicians and trialled the products inside nail bars which then streamed the augmented reality on plasmas. Being able to protect her brand and innovations in China was something Thea said she took very seriously, however, she assured the Creative3 audience that with the app, technology and algorithms required, Metaverse Nails are unable to be replicated. Thea mentioned a pop rate and the audience gave her a strange look. Pop rate? What is a pop rate in the context of augmented reality and wearable technology? Thea explained that for each pattern created and designed pop holograms were created in the app to allow users to share their content on social media. A 100% pop rate would mean each person who created a hologram shared it on social media – the ultimate goal.

Throughout her presentation, Thea also touched on how to market technology products on China’s mobile commerce platforms, and launching a world first platform for monetising Augmented Reality. Also included in the Creative3 Forum was the presentation on ‘How to sell the Unknown to Investors’ where Thea, alongside Michael Brett (QxBranch), Michael Fox (Shoes of Prey) and Jon Vlassopulos (Fabric Inc.) focused on sharing their experiences on raising capital both in Australia and overseas. Led by Gwendolyn Regina Tan (Mashable), these highly successful entrepreneurs provided insights into selling to investor blue sky business models.

Metaverse Makeovers have created a unique product with the challenge of marketing to a Chinese audience. To overcome her adversities, Thea made her product with China, not simply in China.