Researchers at the Game Technology Center at ETH Zurich are using augmented reality (AR) to enhance creative activities; including a colouring book that brings the characters to life when viewed on a smartphone or tablet. Matthew Stock reports.
Colouring in is often a child's first opportunity for creative expression. But with all the distractions from digital devices, how do you keep kids interested? By bringing their creations to life in front of their very eyes. UPSOT SOUNDBITE (English) DR. FABIO ZÜND, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF GAME TECHNOLOGY CENTER, SAYING: "You can just colour any any figure you like in a traditional way with colour. But then looking at our app this figure comes to life and the colour is transferred to the 3D model in real time." Augmented reality, or AR, mixes the real and digital worlds. A collaboration between ETH Zurich and Disney Research has developed a number of AR prototypes. Using these character cards, a child can experiment with sound - building and manipulating a virtual band. UPSOT And this app is designed to make art galleries more fun, letting kids tweak and manipulate the artworks. At the moment they're just research prototypes, with no current plans to release commercially. But the team believes AR's potential is growing rapidly. SOUNDBITE (English) BOB SUMNER, ADJUNCT PROFESSOR AT ETH ZURICH, SAYING: "We're using augmented reality to enhance creative activities; that fits into our wider research mission which is really about exploring game technology as a means to understand human behaviour... I really believe in the wider scope, augmented reality is going to touch nearly every business worldwide." AR caught the public's attention with the release last year of the smash hit game Pokemon Go. More recently, Facebook chief Mark Zukerberg has said the social networking hub is the obvious place for businesses to experiment with the format.