Children's books get a 21st-century upgrade

Beloved characters of Beatrix Potter come to life thanks to augmented reality.

Reading a book will often lull your child to sleep, and can be quite monotonous and tiring for you as well. But thanks to some cutting-edge technology, storytime is getting an upgrade.

Inception VR, an Israel-based startup, has just launched Bookful. Thanks to augmented reality technology, the app brings the storytime characters to life, as you'll see in the video above. Point your iPhone or iPad at a table and – poof! – the book appears on the table. You can flip through the pages, the illustrations dance across the page and you can move your screen around to see the drawings from different angles.

The beloved books of Beatrix Potter including "The Tale of Peter Rabbit," "The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck" and "The Tale of Benjamin Bunny" are some of the first to take advantage of the new app.

“We are always looking at new ways to bring Peter Rabbit to family audiences," said Penguin's Susan Bolsover. "The team at Inception have brilliantly reimagined how children can engage with books in a dynamic new way. We couldn’t be more delighted with the results and we look forward to exploring other opportunities for our brands with Inception.”

Books feature both “read” and “play” modes, and allow children to interact with the characters in the stories to augment their understanding and learning. “Read” features a digital version of the book with illustrations that come to life throughout the story. “Play” features games in which kids can interact with characters from each book.

"Seeing people experiment with VR, their facial expression of excitement, is what drives us," said Inception founder and CEO Benny Arbel. "As a VR content app that both creates and distributes VR content, we get to spend every day letting users immerse themselves in new worlds, new places, new experiences – which, let’s face it, is amazing!"

Arbel is following in the footsteps of fellow Israeli entrepreneurs Asi Sharabi and Tal Oren, who launched another book startup. Their company, called Lostmy.name, creates personalized books for your child based on their name.

"Lost My Name lives on the intersection of storytelling, engineering, digital and print. We combine the power of stories with the possibilities of technology to create magical, personalized experiences for children," Sharabi told us.

Inception made headlines a couple of years ago when they began offering 3D video tours of cities around the world – including their hometown of Tel Aviv. In addition to Penguin Random House, the company has also partnered with Toyota, Time Out Magazine, InternContinental Hotels and Samsung.

"Inception’s app will continue to expand our catalogue as the market grows," Arbel said. "With more content being consumed, more talented creators and studios are starting to emerge and produce a rich pipeline of high-quality experiences. We are excited to see an ecosystem slowly forming, one that will continue to build on itself and is definitely something to look forward to."

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Related Topics: Parenting

Children's books get a 21st-century upgrade
Beloved characters of Beatrix Potter come to life thanks to augmented reality.