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Popular Science enlists augmented reality to bridge printed page, digital world

The latest issue of Popular Science harnesses augmented reality to integrate the printed page with the digital world with the assistance of a new mobile app.

Readers of the June print edition of the magazine will be able to aim a smartphone or tablet at certain pages to activate augmented reality action such as a video or slideshow that is overlaid on a static image. In order to be able to view and interact with additional content, readers can download the new PopSci Interactive app from Apple's App Store or Google Play.

?As a magazine about ?the future now? we're constantly trying to practice what we preach,? said Jake Ward, editor-in-chief of Popular Science. ?We want to draw readers in beyond the words and images on the page, and augmented reality is a wonderful way to create a deeper value.

?We have a very powerful trio of platforms at our disposal ? print, digital and our tablet edition ? so we're constantly looking to cross-promote,? he said.

?The production of our content takes place with all of those platforms in mind, and as mobile devices are able to handle content like video and animation more easily, we'll be moving beyond merely replicating or even just expanding content on mobile devices ? we'll be creating original content for them.?

Popular Science is published by Bonnier Corp., Winter Park, FL. The magazine was founded in 1872.

Social play
Popular Science previously used augmented reality to animate covers in 2009 and last year. However, this is the first time the publication is using augmented reality to deliver expanded editorial content using mobile to interact with the printed page.

The augmented reality integration in the June issue is part of the magazine?s Invention Awards, an annual feature profiling ten inventors of potentially world-changing technologies.

The app also features social media integration, with readers able to use the in-app "screen capture" button to share the augmented reality experience via Facebook or Twitter. This makes it possible for others to see the digital overlay without the magazine.

The app is available for the iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.

Extending the experience
The augmented reality integration and the interactive app are powered by Aurasma. The augmented reality platform has had more than three million downloads since it was launched in June 2011.

With Aurasma, publishers can make print pages interactive via mobile without the need for QR codes, embedded tags or other visual markers.

?Magazine subscribers still enjoy, and many prefer, holding a physical magazine in their hands, however research has shown that these same readers also like to continue their reading experience beyond the printed words,? said Jennifer Rapp, general manager at Aurasma, London.

?Rather than keep the print and digital experience separate, it seems natural to have the printed magazine lead the reader into the digital content by way of a mobile device,? she said.

?This saves the reader time and keeps them engaged longer by automatically linking the print content directly to the related videos, online stories and products that they are so keen to see.?