Disney has come up with new high-tech colouring books that let kids scribble in 3-D.
A coloring book and a box of crayons may not be as interesting as TV and video games for kids, but the coloring book app devised by Disney Research, however, can cause characters to leap from the page in 3-D glory with the help of augmented reality.
A child colors a character, such as an elephant, on the book page normally, while a tablet or smartphone running the app monitors the drawing. Based on the child’s coloring, the app fills in colors in real-time on an animated 3-D version of the elephant that is visible on the device’s screen and integrated into the video.
The app keeps the core focus on the traditional activity of coloring while offering a magical digital overlay that enhances engagement.
In user testing – performed with adults rather than children in this early study – the researchers found that most users said the app increased their motivation to draw in coloring books and 80 percent said the app increased their feeling of connection to a character.
Augmented reality holds unique and promising potential to bridge between real-world activities and digital experiences, allowing users to engage their imagination and boost their creativity, said Robert W. Sumner, a principal research scientist.
They are thrilled to have the opportunity to present the scientific advances behind this technology, continued Sumner, and are especially happy that it is available to consumers, thanks to the cooperation with Disney Publishing.
Researchers from Disney, ETH Zurich and the Swiss university EPFL presented the augmented reality app at the IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR 2015) in Fukuoka, Japan.
Although the research work is just now being presented to scientific audiences, it has already gone through the tech transfer process, inspiring the commercial product called “Disney Color and Play” launched earlier this year by Disney Publishing Worldwide and Bendon.
This work fits into a larger initiative at Disney Research called Augmented Creativity, which focuses on using augmented reality to enhance creative play.