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Disney Research on Augmented Reality Demand you Color Within the Lines

That good ol’ com­pa­ny Dis­ney is always on the fore­front of doing some­thing cool. Ear­li­er this month we spoke about their using Li-Fi (Read Li-Fi arti­cle here). Now they’re work­ing with AR for kids who like to col­or in books. Why, you might ask? Because they’ve fig­ure out how to turn 2D flat col­ored images and trans­form them into 3D char­ac­ters that you can manip­u­late. So it takes the image of the char­ac­ter in the col­or­ing book and maps the col­ors applied by the user to a pre-made 3D ani­ma­tion of the char­ac­ter. So a child begins col­or­ing the char­ac­ters, the char­ac­ter itself comes to life before your very eyes – that is, with the help of an AR app on any giv­en device. Essen­tial­ly, as the child draws and col­ors, the Dis­ney char­ac­ter then springs to life in real-time like magic.

Dis­ney (jobs at Dis­ney) believes that tech­nolo­gies such as AR could help re-ignite their innate dri­ve at being cre­ative by inte­grat­ing the tech­nol­o­gy with col­or­ing books. By pro­vid­ing a bridge between real-world activ­i­ties and dig­i­tal enhance­ments, Dis­ney hopes the mind of child could equal­ly be enhanced in tandem.

“[C]hildren spend an increas­ing amount of time pas­sive­ly con­sum­ing con­tent or absorbed in dig­i­tal devices and become less engaged with real-world activ­i­ties that chal­lenge their cre­ativ­i­ty. Aug­ment­ed real­i­ty (AR) holds unique poten­tial to impact this sit­u­a­tion by pro­vid­ing a bridge between real-world activ­i­ties and dig­i­tal enhance­ments. AR allows us to use the full pow­er and pop­u­lar­i­ty of dig­i­tal devices in order to direct renewed empha­sis on tra­di­tion­al activ­i­ties like col­or­ing.”– Stephane Mag­ne­nat, Dis­ney Research

So two things are hap­pen­ing with this app. The first is the scan­ning of the col­or­ing and the trans­fer­ring the col­or scheme into a skin for the 3D mod­el in real-time, which is total­ly nov­el. That means hav­ing an intel­li­gent fea­ture to allow for col­or wrap­ping all the way around the object. The oth­er being that there is a “QR code” style read­er that can iden­ti­fy the out­line of the flat sur­face image in order to gen­er­ate that spe­cif­ic pre-ren­dered 3D mod­el. On top of all that, it looks pret­ty sweet.

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