A new book about The Little Mermaid retells the classic H.C. Andersen fairytale utilizing Augmented Reality. The book recently hit Kickstarter and we had a chat with the Ceo and Co-Founder of Books and Magic, Mark Folkenberg.
“Basically, its an old dream or vision if you want to call it that, and now it was possible! We quickly realised that we were dealing with a whole new interaction form closely related to VR but more accessible for the normal user.”, Folkenberg begins.
There’s been a lot of experimentation with Augmented Reality and interaction in children’s books since the tablets started entering the market. Folkenberg sees the technology as an opportunity to give children a rich experience that could make it easier for children to enter the universe of the stories they read.
“The augmented scenes give an immediate entrance to the books universe which children and adults of any age can relate to. We have focused on making the augmented reality a key part in the experience.”, Folkenberg explains.
“So we have made a exploration game based on the freedom the user has to navigate around the scene and explore from any angle and distance. The obvious drawback is also the biggest advantage; the physical part: the book. There is a built-in dependency between the book and the app. Sometimes it feels like the chicken and the egg paradox” He continues.
Books and Magic recently put the concept on Kickstarter, hoping to find funding to finnish the storybook without having to rely on traditional investors.
“In order to produce the book at a reasonable price we need to order in huge quantities. With a 3 month production and delivery time we were looking at a huge expense long before actually being able to sell any of the books. The Kickstarter backing concept allows us to raise the funds to production of the book in a kind of self-sustainable fashion.” Folkenberg explains.
He then elaborates on their plans if the Kickstarter turns out to be successful: “When the Kickstarter succeeds we have the funds to get the book produced and we will get right back to finishing both the app and the final touches of the book. We have approx. 3 months work left on the app. Which lines up fine with the production and delivery of the book. We plan on releasing the app and delivering the book this march.”.
The project started moving in spring 2014 when Books and Magic received funding from Nordic Game, which allowed them to move ahead a lot earlier than expected.
“We received a development grant in the spring 2014 of a total 450.000DKK. This definitely helped getting the project up and running faster. We had already made and saved, what we thought to be a considerable amount of money for developing this project and the development grant made it possible for us to start much earlier.” Folkenberg says.
“Probably a half or whole year earlier. A lot can happen in a year and it’s hard to say if we still could have assembled the team a year later. So in that sense it made all the difference. Also, it was wonderful to get a recognition like that.” Folkenberg concludes.
Books and Magic’s Kickstarter campaign still has several days left on the platform, so there’s plenty of time to go support them.