Balti Virtual is bringing augmented reality to children’s books

Holo PopUps include a book, and an app that animates the illustrated animals on the page. The AR/VR studio continues to push into new mediums.

Balti Virtual's Holo Popups includes an AR app. (Courtesy photo)
Updated at 1:20 p.m., 10/3/18.

Children’s book creators have long sought ways to make reading come alive, as past innovations dating back to the pop-up book show. Balti Virtual looks to fit squarely within that tradition with its latest product. But in this case, augmented reality adds another dimension.
The City Garage–based studio is rolling out a new line of children’s books. Holo PopUps combine printed books with a mobile app that makes animated images come alive off the page, said Balti Virtual CEO Will Gee. The app also adds sound effects and can read along with the story, and the studio is also planning to refresh the content for specific seasons within the app.
Intended for children ages 4-12, the initial books feature a poem and illustrated animals, with titles including Sea ChARacters, DARing Dinos and Pet PARty. Each book has 10 different animals that come to life. While the technology makes the books stand out, Gee said they’re also. The illustrations were inspired by classic children’s artists such as early Disney concept artist Mary Blair.
Gee said the effort has been a collaboration between the studio and local authors, with a first draft by Dave Kiefaber and final edits by BV’s Ying Yu and Zoe Nardo. With the team effort, the books’ author appears under the pen name “Hal O Graham.”
For Balti Virtual, it’s a new way to explore augmented reality technology. The studio does client work for a number of big brands, but the children’s books are the latest in a line of its own AR products. The studio has a line of temporary tattoos, and has worked on adding animation at the museum. While it’s early in the release of the books, Gee said he’s intrigued by the potential to add more features, as well as the ability to offer a narrative.
“What we’re looking to do is seeing what the interest in this is and if people like the concept. If there is, the sky’s the limit,” he said.

Companies: Balti Virtual

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