When it comes to developing new book tech, few compare to Disney. Its researchers have developed several new ideas for interactive augmented reality, and they're back again this week with a new take on coloring books.
With its Color Alive line, Crayola has found a way to merge paper coloring books with apps to let kids bring their artwork to (digital) life. And now Disney is taking the idea a step further.
Crayola let kids bring a finished drawing to life, while Disney researchers have taken the idea a step further. They have developed tech that lets you see an augmented reality version of the drawing while it's still being filled in.
Point a mobile device running the companion app at the drawing, and you can see the 3d character take on the colors and texture chosen by the artist while the drawing is still in progress.
That's a nifty idea, but I don't know how popular it will be. Gizmodo said it was "a brilliant way to bridge the experience of coloring with crayons or pencils (which has yet to be perfectly recreated on a touchscreen device) with the apps and games that more readily grab a child’s attention these days", which is true.
But with the way that old-fashioned un-augmented paper coloring books are making a comeback, I don't know that anyone is going to want a mixed media experience.
Half the fun in filling in a coloring book is that you're not holding a gadget in your hand. This would seem to defeat that purpose, and that is perhaps the greatest distinction between Craolya's tech and Disney's demo.
Crayola has found a way to add to the finished drawing, which is nice. Disney's idea, on the other hand, feels like it complicates the drawing process - gilding the lily, as it were.
Would you want to use it?