Augmented Reality (AR) is probably best known from Pokemon GO, a popular game that had millions of players walking the streets staring at their phones, looking for elusive, virtual beasts. Since these beasts could appear pretty much anywhere, from the White House gym to hospital delivery rooms, this generated much publicity and blasted AR into the forefront of new technologies.
So, it’s nice to see people using AR for something less distracting. In fact, I recently came across Bookful, a book app that shows the direction books may take in the near future. Even though I still have to take the plunge into the world of audiobooks, I’m already drooling at the prospect of converting books like Musiville and Runaway Smile into an app like this!
Bookful uses AR to enhance the real-life environment by adding computer-generated objects into your existing surroundings. In simpler terms, you download a book, point your tablets at, say, a table, and watch the book’s characters “come to life”–i.e. pop up from the pages into lovely 3D animations.
Perhaps a video can explain it best:
Bookful’s website makes it clear that they aim at the education market as well as the household one:
AR is an incredibly powerful tool that deeply enhances the educational value of a book. Augmented reality makes reading fun and exciting, which instills in children a strong passion for it. By making plot and characters interactive, augmented reality allows readers to gain a deeper understanding of a book’s content… AR book animations also provide relevant facts and information that go beyond the pages of a book.
Interestingly enough, Bookful is following the so-called fremium model: it’s free to download but contains in-app purchases. At the moment, about a dozen titles are available for download, including some of Beatrix Potter’s beloved ones.
Sadly, Bookful is only available for iOS devices (I own multiple Android ones but have steered clear from Apple), so I guess I’ll have to wait until I can see it in action for myself… unless I manage to convince people to fund a campaign for me to develop an app for my own books. And, as long as I’m dreaming, a pony would be nice. In a pinch, even an AR one would do 🙂
Many thanks to my author friend, Marina Gioti, for alerting me to the app.