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New App Brings Augmented Reality Ghosts to the iPad in All Their Appropriate Fuzzyness

The kids books publisher Goosebottom Books is planning to release a ghost-themed augmented reality book next month and they’ve just posted a demo on their website.

The book is called Horrible Hauntings, and it’s a cute look at some of the more famous ghost stories like the Headless Horseman, the Amherst Poltergeist, the Flying Dutchman, and Bloody Mary. All in all there are ten historical ghost stories in this book (pity there’s no Myrtle), and they are  brought to life via the tricks of augmented reality.

You’ll need to buy the book and download the iOS or Android app, but once you do you’ll be able to use the rear facing camera to see and interact with the ghosts. There’s even going to be a scene where you can take the role of a poltergeist and send objects (chairs, an umbrella, vases, and chamber pots) flying around the room.According to one of the developers, there are other simple games embedded in the app, including a spot where you can have the skeletons play ball or blow on the sales of the Flying Dutchman, which fill up when you blow on them.

You can check out the demo video at the end, but I don’t think this is going to work out very well. First and foremost, I’m going to have to agree with one of my readers in that I don’t see the point of requiring an iPad as well as the book in order to use the better parts of the book.

But more importantly, this particular AR trick isn’t working well for me because I’m having issues with the camera on my iPad 2. But that’s a sub-1MB camera anyway, so I wouldn’t expect it to do much in the first place. Here’s what I see on my screen:
As you can see, it looks awfully fuzzy. Assuming this is par for image quality on the iPad 2, I really don’t see the point of using it to support augmented reality apps. It’s just not worth it.

Once again augmented reality is little more than a gimmick. I think this app would be better off if the publishers simply dropped any requirement that the book be involved. But then they wouldn’t be able to pitch the app based on the gee-whiz value of augmented reality, and without that I’m not sure anyone would be writing about them today.

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