Augmented reality is fun for kids as well! Now they can colour their favourite characters and see them come to life on the computer screen. In real-time!

We can say that many members of our staff are of the '80s children generation. What we considered to be fun, was running around our neighbourhood, hanging out with friends, riding bicycles and engaging in other real-life activites, such as reading books and drawing. Walkman and video games were about the closest we got to rising technologies and electronics. But today, smartphones, tablets, laptops, apps and games are what seems to raise the most interest with kids. So where does that leave good old fashioned colouring books that we used to love?

Disney Research Hub came up with a solution that would engage children in real-life activites, boosting their imagination and the power of self-expression, while at the same time they'd be able to enjoy their digital devices and gadgets.

How do you make coloring interesting again? With augmented reality! As developers at Disney say, »augmented reality holds unique potential to impact this situation by providing a bridge between real-world activities and digital enhancements.«

The newly developed augmented reality coloring book App allows children to color characters in a printed coloring book – just as they normally would, but at the same time they can now monitor their progress via smartphone or a tablet. The app detects and tracks all the drawing moves, and then »the video stream is augmented with an animated 3-D version of the character that is textured according to the child's coloring,« explains Disney Research team.

The entire process was described in a paper called "Live Texturing of Augmented Reality Characters from Colored Drawings", published on Disney Research website.

Furthermore, it should be noted that not only Disney is working on augmented reality coloring books - there are others as well. There is for example Quivervision, and DAQRI's Color Alive that was developed together with Crayola. Compared to Disney's developing app, these other versions seem to lack one of the most exciting features - namely, only with Disney app it is possible to color and observe your work in real-time. With others the drawing must first be completed, and only then a 3D character can be created with an app.

Disney's app is still in its developing stages, so it is not very likely we'll be able to buy it for our kids any time soon. Still, the future looks mighty promising.

Sept. 1, 2016 Living photo: DisneyResearchHub via

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