Posted on May 15, 2014 in Archive

Augmented Reality apps revolutionising the book industry


Pop-up books have certainly come a long way since I was a child. Late last year, Australian animation company Resin brought author and illustrator Adam Stower’s children’s story ‘Two Left Feet’ to life, through an augmented reality app, enhancing storytime for youngsters and parents alike.

The story of Rufus, a monster who loves to dance despite his two left feet, lets readers hear narration and watch 3D animations of Rufus and his friends as they perform on the pages of the book.

How does it work?

For people who own the book, the app works by simply pointing a smartphone or tablet at the page and the animation appears on the screen. For those who don’t own the book, the app comes with a canvas you are able to print which then works the same way as the story book, by pointing the device’s camera at the canvas.

The user can even move around and take pictures of friends with the animated characters.

Resin’s technology that made the animation possible is called boooKAPP, which has been added to the best new publishing start-ups at Frankfurt book fair. BooKAPP’s success with ‘Two Left Feet’ has Resin now in discussion with publishers and authors looking to bring more books to life. The app doesn’t need QR codes or special reprints, so it can work with any book that has already been published.


Augmented reality apps in the book industry

‘Two Left Feet’ creates a virtual world that can connect with the real world.

“Because the boooKAPP technology works with existing editions of books there is a huge potential to apply the same process to other beloved stories that are already in millions of homes” said Grant Lovering, Creative Director at Resin.

The story has so far only been released on iOS but will be released on Android later this year providing the iOS release reaches it targets.

Augmented reality apps are not new, but finding one that works as seamlessly as this one is rare. They are finding ways to reach the masses though. IKEA has its virtual catalogue that consumers can use to place furniture in their house to see if it suits the room and fits in the desired area, while the British Museum have mimicked the idea given to us from ‘Night at the Museum’ by bringing to life some of the museum’s exhibits through a virtual reality app. ‘A Gift for Athena’ is a story puzzle game for children that takes them on an adventure through the museum. It gets users to find certain statues and then rewards them, tells of the statue’s history and gives directions to the next stage of the game, making learning about history exciting.

The EU funded CHESS Project is hoping to make this kind of augmented reality storytelling available throughout the entire museum sector.

The past few years have seen numerous developers experiment with creating augmented reality experiences for users. Sony’s Playstation 3 Wonderbook, released in 2012, used Playstation’s Move Motion controller and the Playstation Eye Camera to create virtual games for users. J.K. Rowling got on board to create the “Wonderbook: Book of Spells” which allows readers to become students at Hogwarts and cast spells in their own loungeroom.

Jack Hunter’s ‘The French Connection’ stories provide readers with interactive games to access through an app if they want. Penguin also has released a string of classics, such as ‘Moby Dick’, with hidden virtual elements in their covers.

The potential of augmented reality has not completely been unlocked. The future will see AR displays on the street with informative graphics appearing in front of you, blurring the lines between what’s real and what’s computer-generated. Below is a cool video of National Geographic using augmented reality to bring dinosaurs into a busy shopping centre. Augmented reality has already come so far and we can only wonder where it is yet to take us..