AR technology turns heads at Taipei book fair

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AR tech at the Taipei Int'l Book Exhibition

AR tech at the Taipei Int'l Book Exhibition (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (CNA) -- Visitors to this year's Taipei International Book Exhibition will not only find a variety of traditional books on offer, they can also explore the future of storytelling through augmented reality (AR) technology.

A pavilion called Creative Comic Collection Interactive Digital Exhibition has drawn attention at the fair by bringing to life the pages of Taiwanese comic books.

Jointly organized by the Ministry of Culture, Academia Sinica Center for Digital Cultures, ASUS, and Pili International Multimedia Co., the exhibition uses AR technology, motion tracking and 3D floating projection technology to create scenes from comic books about Taiwan's Oolong tea, glove puppetry, the Taiwan Exposition in 1935, and Taiwan during the Dutch colonial period in the 17th century.

Visitors, holding AR devices in their hands, can walk around rooms decorated to look like scenes from comic books and be guided by a comic book character or play interactive games.

"The 'experience economy' is quite popular now. We hope to give readers a memorable experience," Wen Chun-ya, a member of the Academia Sinica Center for Digital Cultures, told CNA.

She said AR technology is used for various educational purposes. Museums, for example, are using AR technology to enrich their guided tours, Wen said. She noted that digital technology can help enhance a reader's experience and does not necessarily have to clash with or replace the role of traditional books.

In the future, for example, publishers could publish poetry anthologies with QR codes in them, and by scanning the QR codes with mobile devices, readers can watch poetry recitations or analysis on their devices, she said.

This year, the book fair also features a Digital Publishing Pavilion that showcases French publications, such as the children's book "Rain at Noon," alongside interactive mobile apps.

Two AR apps developed by Taiwanese company ARPlanet Digital Technology Co. are also exhibited.
One is an interactive AR game called iLandAR that allows users to turn their colorings on paper into fully-animated 4D characters on mobile devices.

The other is an app called marq+ which allows users to scan QR codes on magazines, product packages, posters, billboards or other printed media and see AR virtual displays on their mobile devices.



Interactive AR game iLandAR (CNA Image)

"Although children nowadays love to play online games, many of them still love drawing and the iLandAR game allows them to enjoy the best of both worlds," Linnea Lee, an employee at ARPlanet Digital Technology Co., told CNA. Being able to see their drawings come to life is a unique experience for many children, she added.

The Taipei International Book Exhibition is being held in Halls 1 and 3 at the Taipei World Trade Center and runs until Feb. 11