Stories come to life with augmented reality in new children's book

Imagine reading a children's book that has animated scenes with sound effects and narration.

One can do just this with an augmented reality (AR) children's story book, titled My Favourite Days, launched at the Central Public Library in Victoria Street yesterday.

The book was developed by non-profit organisation Touch Community Services, the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office, tech giant Meta and creative tech firm MeshMinds as an initiative to expose children in Singapore to the benefits of technology.

Its illustrations were produced by creative studio illo picto.

The book details a trip to several places in Singapore by a girl and her grandfather, and highlights how life can be possibly made better with technology.

Five of the book's scenes are animated, with the animations hosted on Meta's Spark AR platform.

To access an animated scene, readers can scan the QR code found on the corresponding page of the book.

This will activate their Facebook app, where they can view the animation.

Minister-in-charge of Smart Nation and Cybersecurity Josephine Teo, who attended the book launch yesterday, said reading remains a core foundation of a person's learning experience.

"And it is great to see that reading is also being updated for the needs, interests and inclinations of a new generation," added Mrs Teo, who is also Minister for Communications and Information.

The launch included a live reading attended by 18 members of the public, comprising children and their parents.

One parent, who wished to be known only as Mr Lee, said books using similar technology as My Favourite Days will be engaging for children.

"It is no longer just a 'stagnant' book, but one that comes to life with visuals," said the 41-year-old design manager.

Copies of the book are available for borrowing at all public libraries, while 2,400 copies will be distributed to pre-schools and primary schools around Singapore.

Another 19,500 copies will be given to children from low-and middle-income families, through the Early Read programme by the National Library Board.

An exhibition on the book is on until Jan 16 at the Central Public Library.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2021, with the headline Stories come to life with augmented reality in new children's book. Subscribe