The eyeMagic project at the University of Canterbury's HIT Lab NZ is ongoing research to explore the application of augmented reality technology to children's literature. Augmented Reality (AR) is a new computer interface technology that allows computer graphics to be overlaid on the real world, so that both the virtual images and the real objects can be seen at the same time. AR interfaces have been developed for medical, military and educational applications. The eyeMagic project is one of the first times that an author has used this technology in an entertainment application.

Gavin Bishop is a noted New Zealand children's book author and illustrator. In the eyeMagic project one of his stories, "Giant Jimmy Jones" was transformed from a normal printed book into one where three-dimensional animated virtual images appear to pop- from the real pages. When the reader looks through a handheld display at the pages, virtual scenes come to life and appear attached to the real book.

Aside from being a very new form of entertainment, the eyeMagic book is also an educational tool. Children can read the "Giant Jimmy Jones" book, and can also build their own versions of the book. After developing the eyeMagic book, the HIT Lab NZ produced a set of workshops that taught children how to create three dimensional virtual objects. In four days children could go from knowing nothing about Augmented Reality to seeing their own virtual models popping out of the pages of a real book.

Currently, Gavin Bishop is working on a new eyeMagic book, one that will allow readers to both view and interact with the virtual content shown over the real book pages.

In summary the opportunities created through this project are allowing children to go on and make their own projects for their own entertainment - surely the ultimate result where the user is creating and developing local stories, in diverse languages/cultures and simultaneously learning complex creative ICT skills.

eyeMagic Project

Supplying digitised entertainment products and services; entertaining the user in this world's variety of languages and its cultural diversity; supporting movement from one-way to two-way, from single to multiple players, interactive entertainment and the synergy between analog and digital platforms.

Eye Magic Example