Augmented Reality e-Books: Mmm, Smell the Jumanji

augmented reality e-books

Imagine being able to smell the blueberry as Violet Beauregarde inflates in front of your face, or the waxy purple of Harold’s crayon, or the soot belching out of the Polar Express. A new augmented reality e-book technology, currently in development at the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, was recently introduced on South Korean television, proving that the Digilog technology, which allows readers to view content in highly immersible 3-D, may arrive sooner than expected.

Augmented reality books made the rounds a few years ago when downloadable camera recognition software was introduced at the Frankfurt Book Fair. But that technology worked in the same way as does an AR Robert Downey Jr. on the cover of Esquire: Hold the book up in front of a computer's Web cam, and watch the resulting images dance on screen.

Digilog removes the computer from the equation, but increases the price of entry--and the dork factor--by requiring the reader to don computer-screen goggles to view the animation.

The South Koreans’ presentation introduced two books of Korean folk tales made especially for Digilog technology. They featured roaring dragons, heroes leaping over grass-covered mountains, and a lot of shimmery 1990s next scene! sound effects, albeit only the haziest narrative.

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