Dorling Kindersley augmented reality books April 2011
DK augmented reality books
Augmented reality is an emerging technology that uses a camera to add digital information, such as graphics, on to an image, to tell you more about the scene you're looking at. In the case of these children's books from Dorling Kindersley, animated graphics appear to pop up from their pages when they're viewed on a computer screen using a webcam.
The 'Human Body' and 'Dinosaurs' are augmented reality (AR) children's books from Dorling Kindersley.
Each book costs £12.99 and has been created for children aged between 9 and 11. They are available from a number of high street bookshops and from Amazon. You also need to download some free software from DK's website for the books to work.
Augmented reality books
The books have regular pages with illustrations and a handful of augmented reality pages which can be recognised when they're held up to a computer's webcam.
Once the webcam recognises the page, enhanced graphical information is displayed on the computer's monitor on top of the image of the book - as seen through the webcam. The Dinosaur book, for example, might show a 3D, moving illustration of a dinosaur hatching her eggs on the computer monitor.
When you hold up certain pages from the Human Body book, you see a human skeleton or an animated human brain, for example, layered on top of the book's pages. The 3D image that you see depends on the page you show to the webcam.
Dorling Kindersley AR books
See the book in action in the video below filmed at the Gadget Show Live in Birmingham.
Each augmented reality page has several boxes of text on it. When you cover a box with your hand and hold the page up to the webcam, the animation displayed on the screen changes. For example, you might see a dinosaur protecting her eggs when one box is covered, but when a different box on the same page is covered, the eggs will hatch.
When you hold up the augmented reality pages to the webcam the animated image on the screen doesn't appear immediately. It can take a few moments for the animation to appear depending on the distance the book is from the camera, the angle the book is held at, and any light reflection bouncing off the page.
It's a process that becomes easier with a little practice, and once the image appears, the book can be rotated to make the animation rotate, too. If you rotate the book too fast, however, the animation may disappear from the screen.
There are minimum specification requirements for both the PC and the resolution of the webcam, although most bought in the last couple of years should be compatible.