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Blog > Hong Kong augmented reality stamps

Our friend Iris (aka scrutiny) from Hong Kong has an amazing radar for postal-themed links and projects. A while ago, she showed us these local stamps and they are so cool that we wanted to share them with you too!

Hong Kong augmented reality stamps

The stamps themselves feature historical buildings from Hong Kong, which are being revitalised as part of an ongoing campaign to “enhance public understanding and appreciation of the built heritage in Hong Kong”. But what makes them special is that when hovered with a smartphone using the HKPostStamps app, the stamps gain a whole other dimension!

Iris filmed this video to show everyone:

While not being the first use of augmented reality in philately, it’s certainly a very interesting one. Each building’s rendering includes interactive hotspots, which bring up more information when you touch them on the smartphone screen such as opening hours, website links, and photos. I think that’s pretty neat — how often do you get to hold an historical building in your hands? 😊

Thank you Iris, for taking the time to show us! And if anyone knows of other interesting philatelic issues, share them in the comments — we’re always curious about stamp innovations.

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50 comments so far

dogfan, United States of America
WOW!
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pwscrystal, Hong Kong
Gosh, I've been using these stamps for a long time and I didn't know there's AR element in them!
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jeroenvberlo, Netherlands
This looks amazing. Great stamps. I hope to receive one someday.
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Seamaid, United States of America
I downloaded the app on my phone and I could actually get it to work from the photos of the stamps in your report! very cool!
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meiadeleite, Portugal
@Seamaid Oh! We didn't think to try that — that's brilliant, I shall give it a go too!
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Walagemini, United States of America
Well I guess I should go download that app haha :D
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Alexander9179, Russia
Just like our bills in 2000 and 200 rubles! (Прямо как наши купюры в 200 и 2000 рублей!)
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fisherman, Ireland
Great use of technology - Congratulations to HK Post
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alaskanpoptart, United States of America
I'd love to try this!
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RalfH, Germany
Oh yes, they are amazing!

"how often do you get to hold an historical building in your hands?"
Daily, if a postcard with the cathedral of Aachen counts. ;-)
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Flippie, Canada
There are great! Thank you for sharing with us. Now, I'm waiting or I ever receive one......
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triplightly, United States of America
Thank you Iris for sharing! And thank you postcrossing for posting it. Of course, we all want one. ;-D
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NIDUSKA, Finland
thank you
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Sfander, Canada
That's amazing! Thanks for sharing.
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StanleyXu, China
Wow!Amazing!I think I should go to HK to buy some cause it's very easy for me to get to HK from SZ!
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scrutiny, Hong Kong
HOORAY! :D So glad people are loving this!

@pqscrystal, have fun playing with them now! There's also another commemorative issue from 2017 (Five Senses) that also has an AR element. (Sadly I don't have any of them.) It's helpful to read the newsletters from Hong Kong Post that describe special features of upcoming stamp issues!

@StanleyXu, sadly they aren't available at HK post offices anymore - this was actually a commemorative issue released in 2017.
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Peachy89, Germany
that's awesome!
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Darcey1, South Africa
oh wow
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Antonina__, Russia
I like it! :-)
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JILL_D, United States of America
Wow! That's incredible. Can't wait to see more of those.
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pwscrystal, Hong Kong
@Iris: the five senses with the kids? I have them!! Now I need to try :D
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Angeldreamer, United States of America
very neat!
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Jacque53, United States of America
That is really cool! Well done Hong Kong!
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beesknees, United States of America
very cool
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abu_snailmail, India
Don't want to be devil's advocate here :)

While these AR-apps are built/commissioned Postal departments (Hong Kong, Royal Mail, etc.), basically, "any app-developer" can use a unique image - like a QR-code, to activate an AR app. This AR app could be a 3D model as in this case, an info-kiosk, or could be a "small" interactive game. The unique image is actually a signature triggering the app.

The usage of stamps as the signature/QR-code is very impressive - why didn't I think of this (facepalm) :D

Just a little bit of insider, techy, nerdy info from a fellow philatelist and postcrosser. Hope you guys don't mind.

Happy AR-PostCrossing :)
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PFPeul, Netherlands
Ooh, how fabulous.
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TaiRoy, Malaysia
OMG!!!!!
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Mosshumla, Sweden
Fascinating!
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Crystalinne, United States of America
This is wild. I hope to receive one someday!
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Cardexplorer, United States of America
Too cool. So happy the information was shared. :)
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Purplescreams, Germany
so nice
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scrutiny, Hong Kong
@pwscrystal - I'm really happy that you have that stamp set too... I hope you have great fun with them!

@abu_roadking - good to hear your opinion! I was briefly involved in an unrelated AR app development project, and while I don't consider myself an insider, I'm excited to see how the technology will advance to the point where the experience will be more integrated and more user-friendly without having to skip between websites/apps. This was over a year ago though, and I haven't been keeping up with the industry news, but I'm sure that the technology has improved vastly. I just read about the apps Weird Type and Just A Line, and I'm looking forward to trying them out!
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MiriTheOctopus, Canada
Wow, these are awesome!
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shadyladynz, New Zealand
Wow! These look really awesome. Would love to see more countries do these
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SunshineCece, United States of America
wow! all the countries should do these! they are so cool! now really hope i get a postcard from hong kong with these amazing stamps!
love,

cece
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Moyuxuan, Thailand
Amazing😉
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Nnennaya, Nigeria
Interesting! Never seen one before. Would like too. Thanks for sharing this info. Would start looking out for augmented reality stamps 😊
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ALFAVIT, Russia
cool
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cspt, United States of America
Very impressive! Some interesting stamps that came out in the US lately are: (1) the textured sports balls, and (2) the eclipse stamp which when heat and pressure are applied will actually cause the eclipse to occur on the stamp. Not nearly as impressive as the Hong Kong stamps, but still lots of fun!
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singlebutblessed, Hong Kong
I have this first day cover :D
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Knerq, United States of America
Does it still work with the postmark over it??
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ishineTW, Taiwan
It's really fantastic!
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Amyyyyy, China
很有历史气息很精美呀!不知道哪里可以买呀?
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heiyeung, Hong Kong
This issue of stamp is not available in Hong Kong. However, you can still order from New Zealand Post online shop here:
https://stamps.nzpost.co.nz/hong-kong/2017/revitalisation-historic-buildings-ii
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Zenihk, Hong Kong
Nice!
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Lila20, Australia
WOW - what is the app called that Seamaid mentioned in these comments on 17th March?
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ilikeharrypotter, United States of America
AWESOME! WHERE CAN YOU GET SOME??
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lisaclown, United States of America
I love them! I love scanning QR codes just to see where it leads me, ha ha!
Reminds me of my kids' Crayola coloring book. You get the app, hover over the coloring book and the drawing that the kid colored turns 3D and can spin and rotate--and with all the Crayola colors that were used. Of course, your kid has to use your phone (!) or tablet... but with supervision very cool!
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duncanpjames, United Kingdom
Great, who is buying the smartphone for me to scan them? Nice idea but will people send more letters? Or, is this just another gimmick from a Postal Service, to make money!
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Chiaming, Taiwan
Magical, amazing, Fantastic
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