While most children ardently believe the magic conjured up by Harry Potter and his band of wizards is the real deal - they soon learn to file those beliefs away, alongside Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. Fiction is make-believe and scientific proof is another thing all together. That was, until augmented reality kind of blurred the literary landscape.
Similar to the Daily Prophet in Harry Potter, the fictionalized newspaper contrived by the imaginings of J.K. Rowlings, newspapers, magazines and book content will soon become visual constructs that will transform before your very eyes.
In a post I wrote back in January titled "Augmented Reality Could Transform Legacy Newspapers Into Video Media," research indicated that within 3 to 5 years, scientists will have developed video newspapers like Harry Potter's Daily Prophet for us mere 'muggles.' Purdue University's David James is one of those modern-day wizards working on technology that could lead to a newspaper that updates itself, complete with moving pictures.
However, we don't have to wait any longer for this technology in children's books. According to a ReadWriteWeb report, writer and illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi is the author of the popular series The Spiderwick Chronicles has integrated augmented reality into his latest book.
Earlier this week, The Search for WondLa hit bookshelves in U.S., and within it - it features an extraordinary interactive augmented reality experience that readers can unlock using their Web browsers. The book, published by Simon & Schuster, is one of the first of its kind and could be a glimpse into how kids will enjoy reading in the future.
"The publishing industry is moving rapidly into the digital age," says DiTerlizzi. "I see the integrated use of AR as an ideal bridge, enhancing what readers love best about story and narrative while tapping innovation and imagination, to bring forth entirely new experiences associated with the book."
To initiate the experience for readers, users are required to install Total Immersion's D'Fusion plugin by uploading to one's browsers, whether that be Firefox, Chrome or Safari. DiTerlizzi worked hand in hand with TI to create the unique digital content for his book.
“Augmented reality is a new human interface, where digital information and the physical world co-exist seamlessly,” says Bruno Uzzan, CEO and co-founder of Total Immersion in a release. “In The Search for WondLa, the viewer—or in this case, the reader—becomes part of the action. The result is an adventure that interacts and engages in amazing ways, and that suggests an equally amazing future for books that include this kind of digital magic.”
So from the fiction of J.K. Rowlings to the fiction of Tony DiTerlizzi, it was a relatively short step into the future. It's amazing how the imagination of one author can become a reality for another in such a very short period of time. Who knows, maybe someone will perfect the invisible cloak. Oh wait, that's already been done - see "'Invisibility' From Claude Rains To SXSWi Augmented Reality."