Using your phone in a place of worship is typically looked down upon. But in a near future, religious patrons might be encouraged to take out their phones, point their camera at the Bible, and watch the story of the sermon unfold in real-time.
Augmented reality (AR) is a consumer tech trend that is picking up speed, with gadgets like Microsoft’s HoloLens and apps like Pokémon Go, and the technology is now entering the worship space, too. Religious institutions all over the world have started to experiment with AR capabilities. Some use it to enhance their weekly brochures or Christmas invitations and others offer tours of their worship temple.
The Turku Cathedral in Finland has a mobile app that uses AR to tell the story of the Protestant Reformation in Finland. Wordsmith, which was built as part of a marketing campaign promoting the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, allows visitors to aim their camera at specific areas of the cathedral and watch the events from the 16th century come to life on their phones.
One company, My Healthy Church, has started using AR apps to animate holy objects such as the bible and crucifixes. Its app Fire Bible for Kids can place cartoon characters onto the pages of the Bible, where they retell the story of Jesus and other religious figures. My Healthy Church distributes books to ministries, but mostly aims to have Fire Bible for Kids as an at-home experience.