New local children's book uses augmented reality to animate scenes

SINGAPORE – Imagine children reading a book that has animated scenes with sound effects and narration.

This is the case for augmented reality (AR) children’s story book, titled My Favourite Days, which was launched at the Central Public Library in Victoria Street on Friday (Dec 17).

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 tech giant 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 Friday’s book launch, 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 Ms Teo, who is also the 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, civil servant Sabrina Wahid, said it was a good move to use AR books to teach children about the importance of technology.

“Having this book… definitely elevates the reading experience, and as the children are reading, they can learn more about technology,” said the 37-year-old who attended the launch.

Another parent, who wished to be known only as Mr Lee, said books using similar technology as My Favourite Days will be engaging for children. “Because it is no longer just a ‘stagnant’ book, but one that comes to life with visuals,” said the 41-year-old design manager.

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. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

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 Starter Kit programme by National Library Board.

Members of the public can also visit an exhibition on the book at the Central Public Library. It will be available until Jan 16.

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