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Idealog—in the ideas business

Kiwi augmented reality tech drives PopAR books to new heights

A digital book incorporating technology developed by a Christchurch company has claimed top honours at the American International Toy Fair.

PopAR books are made and marketed by a US company but the software that powers them was developed by MindSpace Solutions Limited, the first spinout company from University of Canterbury research centre Human Interface Technology Laboratory New Zealand (HIT Lab NZ). Using augmented reality technology, they enable readers to see virtual 3D objects and animations that pop up from the book’s surface.

Not surprisingly, this caught the eye of judges, who awarded it the prize for Top Toy for 2012.

MindSpace Solutions was founded in 2003 and has received R&D funding from MSI to help develop its technology, which is currently being used in more than eight countries, including the US, Australia, Mexico, Indonesia, and Singapore.

“AR evolved from virtual reality, which failed to gain traction due to bulky helmets and gloves that disconnected the user from the real world. AR solves this by overlaying virtual content on the real world and responding to movement in the real world. PopAR books are a great example of this type of technology,” says founder and managing director, Eric Woods.

He says MindSpace has more than doubled its revenue in the past two years and is looking to establish new markets in Asia and Europe.


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