Nail art meets augmented reality in this new app

Nail art meets augmented reality in this new app

“There are more posts in Instagram of #nailart than #cars. A vibrant relationship already exists between nail art, social apps, and mobile tech,” says Australian designer and entrepreneur Thea Baumann. That’s part of the reason her startup is trying something new with nails.

What the team has created is nail art which triggers holographic, augmented reality visualizations using an accompanying app. The startup is called MM Nails. People pay about US$50 for the stick-on nail art, which is designed by artists – and the app is of course free. That app has in-app purchases for further 3D, AR visualizations.

It’s not exactly “wearable tech” as most people think of it, but there is a lot of tech involved.

And there’s a lot more to come, as Baumann plans to turn MM Nails into something broader where the nails and the AR fire up content, or tie in with social media or brands. Baumann is tight-lipped on those other plans, but it’s easy to see how a brand could make use of something like this. She describes the idea as a unique wearable content distribution platform.

Shanghai glam

The Sino-Australian startup – called Metaverse Makeovers in full – is focusing first on the China market, which is why it’s largely based in Shanghai. “We’ve quantified our total target market as 31 million young girls in China who actively get their nails done and are expressive on social media,” she explains.

There’s a MM Nails shop in Chinese, which ships across mainland China as well as internationally.

“For me, I wanted to further augment the more ‘traditional blingy qualities’ of nail art. I wanted to embed augmented reality amongst a vibrant nail art culture – and design new products and experiences that would connect my end users’ fingers to social networks,” says Baumann.

She says the plan after China is to head to other markets where a lot of young women tend to do their nails, like Japan and South Korea. “And then seeing how our hologram tech designs fly in markets such as Brazil and Russia,” she adds.

Aside from taking the AR nail art to more countries, the startup is also working on using the same pattern recognition technology and AR features in clothing. Plus, Baumann wants to add 3D interactive gaming in the MM Nails app.