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Kids’ book adds AR for Android

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iBO Live has released The French Connection, an augmented reality interactive book aimed at 8-13 year olds. The book allows Android users the opportunity to participate in missions and hunt for treasure as they play the game while reading the book.

The first augmented reality interactive book launched by iBO Live last month, is now available to Android users. ‚ÄòThe French Connection’, the second book in the Jack Hunter series of adventure stories by author Martin King is aimed at 8-13 year olds. It incorporates augmented reality gaming technology and offers young readers and gamers with an Android device the opportunity to participate in missions and hunt for treasure as they play the game alongside reading the book.

The Android version of the popular app launches in wake of research commissioned by Martin King and iBO Live which found that during the last school half term holidays, more than half of children (57 per cent) aged 8-13 years spent just one hour or less reading. It also discovered that 33 per cent of kids admit spending most of their time playing video games or on a tablet/smartphone. This highlights a growing problem: children simply aren’t reading enough and they would rather be playing games. Authors need to be doing more to engage and excite youngsters.

Powered by an app from interactive book company iBO Live (also available on iOS and free for the first two levels) on a mobile device, users scan the book’s cover and images within the pages and use their device to jump into the pictures to create their own adventure. Children can follow Jack and his friends back in time to 1392 to discover an ancient secret.

Clues are hidden within the book that take the reader to www.jackhuntergames.com, where they can solve extra puzzles to unlock further levels and even find an additional chapter in a secret chamber. Game levels are locked to prevent kids racing ahead in the game further encouraging them to read more in order to play more. Within the game is also a castle builder where participants can make their own battlements using blue prints they find in the game and there are plans to enable direct sharing of creations.

From the moment readers scan the front cover of the book, every picture hides a clue,” says Martin King. “There are traditional adventure elements and some twists on convention. The hidden-object puzzles require the gyroscopic controls of your mobile device to explore environments in full 360-degree 3D, while the 3D jigsaw pieces not only need to be placed correctly but also orientated into the right position.

Developers used the Unity 3D engine and Qualcomm Vuforia plug-in to create a deep-gaming experience combining point-and-click adventure elements with hidden-object puzzles and environment puzzles.

Applying augmented reality to books allows the author to bring things to life and lift the story off the pages for the reader. The phrase ‚Äògetting into a good book’ has never had more meaning,” comments Steve Marshall, lead developer at iBO Live. “Our high-end development methods build augmented reality experiences that quite literally change simple text or pictures into interactive 3D windows. This is one book you definitely can’t judge by its cover.

The iBO Live version of Jack Hunter The French Connection, is available to buy now at Amazon and selected Waterstones and WHSmith stores. The interactive app is free to download now from Google Play as well as the App Store and is compatible with Android and most Apple devices.

Click here to see the book in action.

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