World’s first digitally playable book with Augmented Reality and 3D animation released

The groundbreaking  Augmented Reality (AR) book features a 3D animated game universe that  pops out of the book's pages when explored with a mobile device.
The groundbreaking Augmented Reality (AR) book features a 3D animated game universe that pops out of the book’s pages when explored with a mobile device.

A Danish company has released the Hans Christian Andersen classic The Little Mermaid – A Magical Augmented Reality Book, where a 3D animated game universe pops out of the book’s pages when explored with a mobile device.

Many book industry experts insist that the technology is poised to define an new genre in publishing.

Books & Magic (Copenhagen, Denmark), a team primarily consisting of fathers, launched The Little Mermaid as a new children’s book genre that merges digital gaming and linear storytelling from a physical book. The book looks like any other book except it’s digitally interactive.

The colour images can be recognized by the app, which opens a three-dimensional window to the book’s universe, so the characters seem to “come alive.” Also, if the child listens to the details of the text, it’s easier to solve the puzzles in the digital universe.

Mark Folkenberg.
Mark Folkenberg.

“We wanted to promote a new way for parents and children to read together and instill a strong desire for more reading aloud. We make children curious about what’s hidden in the text by highlighting the fantasy world behind the book,” said Founder and CEO of Books & Magic, Mark Folkenberg.

For example, Alexia Ottas showed the book to her 6-year-old daughter, Athene, and both ended up spending hours together reading it. “We were both very excited about the 3D effects. The images in the books came alive and we were overwhelmed by the story – and ended up sitting together for many hours,” she said.

Maz Spork.
Maz Spork.

Maz Spork, Head of Innovation at Egmont Publishing, who wrote his MBA on the gaming industry, added: “I believe that The Little Mermaid can be genre-defining just like some people feel comic books defined their youth. The next generation might feel the same towards Augmented Reality-books.

I’m almost in love with everything Books & Magic stands for – helping kids to love reading, and the deeply innovative approach in combining game mechanics with a linear story telling in a book.”

The project was backed in 2014 by the Nordic Game Program that controversially gave them a grant for being among the most promising initiatives in the gaming industry – in spite of aiming the technology towards the book market.

The Books & Magic team (from left) includes Ren Lumholtz, Mark Folkenberg, Jens Jacobsen, Stephen Foged and Johnny Haarup. (Photos courtesy of PRNewsFoto/Books & Magic).
The Books & Magic team (from left) includes Ren Lumholtz, Mark Folkenberg, Jens Jacobsen, Stephen Foged and Johnny Haarup. (Photos courtesy of PRNews Foto/Books & Magic).

“I’m deeply impressed by Books & Magic, their drive and sales strategy,” said Danish game industry expert Jan Neiiendam, CEO at Interactive Denmark.

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.