What it is: Disney is experimenting with augmented reality to create interactive coloring books.
Ebooks are basically static text and graphics. Their main advantage is that they take up little space compared to carrying a physical book around. Even better, you can quickly search through an ebook in ways that you cannot do with a paper book. The big drawback of ebooks is that they’re less convenient to read since people are still used to reading paper books.
As long as ebooks offer static text and graphics like ordinary print books, they’ll have slight advantages that won’t sway the majority of people to embrace ebooks. That’s why ebooks need to embrace interactivity. This will allow ebooks to provide animation and changing views that will be far more versatile than the simple pop up books of paper children’s books.
Yet even interactive ebooks are struggling to gain acceptance. However, what might make interactive ebooks far more appealing will be augmented reality.
Disney is experimenting with interactive coloring books that combine paper books with an augmented reality app on a smartphone or tablet. The idea is that children can draw on the paper coloring books and then use their mobile device to view a three-dimensional image of their drawing at the same time. Such interactivity can make printed books just as interactive as ebooks.
Take this technology further and the future might bring interactive instruction manuals. Instead of a printed manual listing instructions and static images, it could let you aim your mobile device at an item so you can see how to take it apart and fix it. Aim a mobile device at a car engine and augmented reality can show you where to change the oil or how to remove and replace a fan belt. Aim a mobile device at furniture from IKEA and it might show you step by step how to put the pieces together.
Augmented reality promises to create interactive paper and ebooks. From repair manuals to coloring books, augmented reality can help turn any book into something visual and far easier to follow than reading dry lists of instructions.