E-books have become a major part of people’s reading habits, with some even preferring them over paper books. While there are some reading purists who are worried about the future of printed books, it looks like they might be making a comeback, albeit only when paired with augmented reality. At least that’s what a wild study claims will happen.
Will augmented reality books take over?
Researchers from The University of Surrey think that augmented reality books can be the future, with readers simultaneously using them with paper books. The idea is that readers will be able to process information via the third generation (3G) version of its Next Generation Paper (NGP) project. Apparently, this will allow readers to get more immersed in a book with an accompanying screen of a smart device with AR.
“Augmented books, or a-books, can be the future of many book genres, from travel and tourism to education,” says Dr Radu Sporea, Senior lecturer at the Advanced Technology Institute (ATI). “This technology exists to assist the reader in a deeper understanding of the written topic and get more through digital means without ruining the experience of reading a paper book.”
With NGP, readers will be able to experience the digital content of a book by simply swiping their fingers on a paper book, leading to their smart device showing them something new to read. To be honest, it sounds more complicated than simply reading a paper book or tablet separately, but it seems that further details will be revealed at a later date.
How augmented books started
George Bairaktaris, a Postgraduate researcher at the University of Surrey and part of the Next Generation Paper project team, told SCIENMAG that augmented reality books started out as augmented travel guides. Through this method, the researchers discovered that augmented reality books could also be a possibility.
“The original research was carried out to enrich travel experiences by creating augmented travel guides. This upgraded 3G model allows for the possibility of using augmented books for different areas such as education,” said Bairaktaris. “In addition, the new model disturbs the reader less by automatically recognising the open page and triggering the multimedia content.”
It will be interesting to see how the public reacts to augmented reality books, assuming that they become a thing. Until some actual movement is made with this project, fans can enjoy paper and e-books as they are right now.