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.