Professor, Designer, Husband, Father, Gamer, Bagpiper

Picked up a pointer to an AR Book being shown at a German book fair.  While this blogger, and the blogger he points at, note that this is a "real" book (meaning, I assume, it will be for sale) rather than a demo, the video leaves the viewer wondering "so what?" ...

We've built some AR books, and my friends and colleagues in Graz and HITLabNZ have too.  The critical issue whenever we try them with real people is "so what?" ... meaning, why would I want to "read" this.

Look at the video being pointed by these articles and ask yourself that question.  At least in the video, these books appear to be nothing more than a placeholder for a (non-?)interactive bit of 3D and audio content;  does this look fun (minus the gee-wiz factor)?  Now look at how it's being "read" ... the "reader" is holding it up FACING AWAY FROM HER toward a camera on a computer screen and having to "read" it on the screen;  does this look fun?

I realize that there needs to be a "first" one, and that figuring out what the sweet spot and magic sauce will be that makes these work is non-obvious (otherwise, we'd all be reading them now, right?).  But, I wonder if the folks trying to create these have asked anyone besides their engineers "What is the real market for these?"  "Who's going to want to read something like this?"  "What makes a 3D AR book good?"

There are books:  they have certain appeals, they have certain affordances. There are computer games:  ditto, certain appeals and affordances.  "Magic books" of this sort appear, to me, to combine the WORST of both, not the best.

I don't think it has to be so.  It's clear that there is an intuitive appeal to having books become 3D.  But, like print books before them, it's the actually content (not the technology) that matters.

The metaio tech looks pretty good, if they can get it off the laptop and onto a device that might actually be more conducive to the "book" experience.  And if someone can get some good content in there.

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