British start-up Mardles has embraced AR as a means to engage with kids through stickers and, more recently, books. The company has used the annual Toy Fair event in London to reveal five hardback books that work with a specially designed augmented reality app.
According to company director James Murden, each book (they cost £6.99 each) tells a moral story that can be transformed into a 3D interactive environment on a smartphone or tablet.
"We're giving the bedtime story a 21st century twist," Mr. Murden, who has an 11-year-old son himself, told the Mirror at the event in Kensington. "It's all too easy to just give kids a tablet to keep them quiet, but this is something that children and parents can use together.
Once you've loaded the app, you can scan each page in the book using the camera on your phone or tablet. You'll be greeted with a 3D representation of the illustration on the page - such as a cow in a field or a fish under the sea.
On the screen, you can interact with the environment by tapping on a tree, a rock or the gate in a fence to see how the characters in the story react to it.
Neither the app, nor the Mardles Storybook products, require registration details and there are no in-app purchases to sting parents down the line.
"All of our Storybooks are written in rhyme as this is known to encourage speech development and the understanding of language," said co-founder Sharon Wyness.
"Parents can simply read the fun story to them at first and as the children get older they are then able to become more involved by interacting with the pages.
"As parents ourselves, it was important for my fellow co-founder James and I that these books weren't an excuse to bring a mobile device into the traditional bedtime sotry. They offer an extra special way to bring our stories to life when parents feel comfortable to do so.