With its edition of 1 February 2010, the Rhein-Zeitung in Koblenz, Germany, became probably the first German newspaper to introduce its readers to a new technology, called Augmented Reality (AR). Understood by Augmented Reality is an expanded perception of reality with the assistance of computer and Internet. The real world and fiction blend.
The application was integrated into a page of the Rhein-Zeitung, where the corresponding activating elements, so-called “markers,” were also included. In order to be able to launch the application, the website that provides the supporting software must be opened . A web camera is also required. All that the reader must then do is to hold the marker, i.e. a symbol printed in the newspaper, underneath the camera , and the page springs to life: In one of the examples of the Rhein-Zeitung, a three-dimensional cartoon figure pops up, in this case a bee. In another place on the page, a video clip is started.
The effects are impressive and the technology behind it interesting ... but it is all just a gimmick?
It depends on what is done with it. AR could be used in the editorial area, e.g. sports reporting, to enrich a photo with a video clip showing a game-deciding in penalty situation or the winner’s miniscule lead over the second-in-place in a cycling race. But another interesting use would be in advertising, bringing ads to life. Naturally, creative design (usually by an agency) is vital for animated graphics. There are almost no limitations on creativity. It remains to be seen how these new possibilities are received by advertisers and readers.
- For more information and the possibility to test AR, visit www.rhein-zeitung.de