The tech-version of the old pop-up book is here

One Australian publishing company has taken the concept of a pop-up to the next level by creating an app that makes personalised book characters leap from the page.

Using augmented reality, which is the same technology in the popular Pokemon Go app released earlier this year, readers download an app and then pass their phones or tablets over the personalised book to make the characters leap off the page.

"For instance the Ds disco dance and the Bs ride a bicycle on top of the book,” the founder of publisher Tinyme, Mike Wilson, said.

Mr Wilson said the book, The Amazing Alphabet, which was launched last month, was the only one of its kind in Australia.

"As far as we know, we're the only ones offering personalised text with personalised illustrations that combine that with augmented reality,” he said.

The aesthetic of the book has borrowed heavily from the old pop-up books, though, and that was a deliberate move to ensure the technology felt familiar to users. Mr Wilson said the book also incorporated the child's name in the story.

The three company directors have a total of 15 children of different ages (of which Mr Wilson has six) so the book had been well road tested before its release.

"Pretty much everyone we've shown the book to, it's been their first experience of augmented reality,” Mr Wilson said.

"In that sense we've had a really good reaction. If we'd shown people who had a lot of experience with augmented reality they'd be saying 'oh that's nice'. But people (with no experience) have been pretty wowed by it.

"Kids are delighted by it, but adults are also amazed by it.”

Mr Wilson said the kids tended to zero in on the characters and the adults were impressed by the technology.

Tinyme celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, and the book and app's creation started in earnest about five months ago after a few years in the pipeline.

"The creation of Pokemon Go really spurred us on. It's probably the most mainstream, conspicuous use ever of augmented reality. I never played it, but some of our staff got into it in a big way. We certainly thought 'we've got to get onto this',” Mr Wilson said.

"Maybe a few years ago it would have been too early in terms of the tech, it wasn't quite there. And timing wise the tech is now available, the phones are getting better.''

Mr Wilson said the app added an extra educational element to reading the book. He said the app was not designed to conflict with reading, but to enhance the reading experience.


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