Augmented Reality Is Coming to Printed Books and Magazines

With augmented reality technologies in digitally printed books and magazines, readers will be able to use their smartphones to access explanatory videos, supplementary websites, and online discussion groups. Authors, designers, and publishers may have to change the way they plan their content if readers begin to expect “connected books,”

At the PRINT 17 show, I picked up two books and a magazine that demonstrated augmented reality technologies that publishers could use to make printed publications more interactive.

Book: Introduction to Graphic Communication

Two leading experts in printing and publishing technologies showed a prototype of an updated edition of the popular textbook, “Introduction to Graphic Communication.” The goal is to show designers and publishers how they can combine the permanence of print with the vitality of interactive communications.

The key to making the hybrid print/digital book possible is a new Clickable Paper technology from Ricoh. Unlike scannable QR codes that only connect readers to a single website, Ricoh’s Clickable Paper Technology makes it possible to connect with multiple online experiences, including video, social networks, audio content, and live chat.

As you read through the book, you can use the free Clickar app on your tablet or smartphone to access video and other media that helps clarify the content. You can also connect and chat with other people who are reading the book.

This updated version of “Introduction to Graphic Communication”  is being coauthored by Dr. Harvey Levenson, former Head of Graphic Communication at California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo, and John Parsons of the Intu Ideas non-fiction writing and publishing consultancy firm. The prototype book distributed at PRINT 17 contained two chapters: Chapter 2 covers the History of Printed Communications. Chapter 8 discusses various types of Printing Processes.

The authors said the ability to marge print and online media changed they way they wrote. Parsons said, “Adding multimedia has made me a more visual writer.” The ability to include links to external media meant they could put less on each page.

“We found no shortage of ways to use the printed book as a ‘platform’ for directing the reader to curated digital content,” said Parsons. For some content, they captured webcam video (using several takes) and edited the results. For other content, they sought permission from creators of YouTube videos and collaborated with Viddler, a developer of video-based training technology.

“We’re not publishing an e-book,” Parsons emphasizes. “This is about a new way to demonstrate the inherent strengths of print.” The authors note that print is a stable medium that can point the way to selected content or interactive connections. They believes digital media isn’t an replacement for printed books, but as a potential extension of a a centuries-long history of innovation.

Book: The Third Wave

The book “The Third Wave” by Joseph W. Webb and Richard M. Romano uses HP Link technology to help owners of printing businesses understand how smarter mobile phones, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things will affect printing businesses.

Readers who download the HP LinkReader can scan hyperlinked text and images to get more information, watch a video, or listen to a song. At the end of each chapter, the authors include a short series of survey questions. The answers enable the authors to learn more about the types of business owners who are reading the book.

In addition to engaging book readers, HP Link Technology can be used on packages and other printed products. The HP Link technology delivers serialized marks that enable creators of printed products to securely track individual products throughout its entire lifecycle. These marks can help prevent thefts and diversion of products, reduce counterfeiting, and assist with product recalls,

The pages of the book were  printed on an HP PageWide WebPress T240HD and the cover was output on an HP Indigo digital press. “The Third Wave” interactive book was published by King Printing Co., a Lowell, Massachusetts-based company that provides short-run book-printing services for more than 10,000 authors and publishers.

Magazine: Out of Chaos

“Out of Chaos” is a digitally printed version of the online magazine published by the color-management experts at Rods and Cones.  The printed articles are enhanced with Stampatech “Print Infinity” technology.

Stampatech augmented-reality technology recognizes photographs and logos on printed books, labels, marketing literature, or packaging and triggers interactive content. Users of the app can learn more about the product, give feedback, or even make purchases.

An article in “Out of Chaos” magazine features excerpts from the white paper “Has Augmented Reality Really Gone Mainstream?” by Cindy Walas and Kevin Keane.

The Spring 2017 issue of the magazine was printed, bound, and trimmed on the Canon imagePRESS C10000VP digital press.

ARt: Augmented Reality to be Featured at Cyberarts Gallery

Although the world is abuzz about Pokémon GO, the first wildly popular game to use augmented reality (AR), artists have been creating AR art for years. To recognize some early adopters of AR technology, the Boston Cyberarts Gallery will present an exhibition entitled “ARt: Augmented Reality.”

The exhibition runs from September 17 through October 30, with an opening reception September 16.

Featured artists include: Joseph Farbrook, John Craig Freeman, Will Pappenheimer, and Zachary Brady.

AR Exhibit - Art-Cyberarts
“Drawing Constellations” by William Pappenheimer with Zachary Brady

Drawing Constellations by Will Pappenheimer, in collaboration with Zachary Brady, is an interactive drawing, installation, and app that uploads drawings to a constantly moving and evolving three-dimensional “constellation” situated outside the Gallery. Upon creating a drawing on a tablet, the user’s 3D drawing is then transferred into 3D augmented reality space, superimposed and sited at the gallery by GPS location.

Defending Virtual by Joseph Farbook is an AR-artwork in which a $100 bill rests on a traditional pedestal, inciting temptation. When viewed through a tablet screen, the bill is defended by a hand holding a gun and making threatening gestures at anyone who gets too close. As money is arbitrarily produced by governments, trade wildly on the stock exchange, and commoditized into debt, what does it currently represent? Both the value of money, and the defense of its value have become entirely virtual. Yet the consequences are often devastatingly real.

Green Street and AR, by John Craig Freeman is a site-specific AR art piece for smartphones and mobile devices. There are particular locations around the world where network activity has become so intense that the virtual world has begun to penetrate into the real world. Objects appear to replicate and float off into the sky. Entire buildings lose their mooring and drift away at the intersection of Green Street and AR.

About Boston Cyberarts

Boston Cyberarts is an umbrella organization for several ventures that focus on new and experimental media. George Fifeld founded it in 1999 with seed funding the Massachusetts Cultural Council. He defines “cyberart” as any artistic endeavor in which computer technology is used to expand artistic possibilities. In cyberart, the computer’s unique capabilities are integral elements of the creative process, in the same way that paint, photographic film, musical instruments, and other materials have always been used to express an artist’s vision.

In 2001, the Boston Cyberarts Festival presented one of the first Augmented Reality artworks in the world. Bruce Campbell from the Human Interface Technology Laboratory at the University of Washington showed his BCFlora, a simulator for plant structure created from a virtual plant genome in a Magic Book augmented reality environment.

During the 2011 Cyberarts Festival, Mark Skwarek placed an AR set of invading aliens throughout the Greenway Conservancy, around the Festival headquarters at Atlantic Wharf and across the channel to the Children’s Museum. Plus, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) hosted Manifest AR, an international group of AR artists who placed multiple AR art inside and outside the ICA.

The Boston Cyberarts Gallery supports experimentation in the arts through exhibitions, events, education, and collaboration with like-minded groups. The goal is to foster the development of new practices in contemporary art-making.

Located in the Green Street station on the MBTA’s Orange line in Jamaica Plain, the Boston Cyberarts Gallery is the only art space in the country located in a train station.

The ARt: Augmented Reality exhibition is free and open to the public.


2011: See New Forms of Art at Cyberarts Festival


SIGGRAPH Showcases Hybrid Crafts, Virtual Reality, Immersive Environments

SIGGRAPHThe annual SIGGRAPH conference is a five-day interdisciplinary education experience and conference on the latest computer graphics and interactive techniques. The 42nd annual SIGGRAPH takes place August 9-13, 2015 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles.  Highlights include: an art gallery of hybrid crafts; a VR (Virtual Reality Village; and demonstrations of how emerging technologies will affect how we work and live.

Art Gallery: Hybrid Crafts

In the display of “Hybrid Crafts” in the SIGGRAPH Art Gallery, visitors will see how skilled artists are using computational design tools in conjunction with traditional crafts. The show will emphasize the importance of craft heritage in contemporary digital design.  Gallery visitors will see how beautiful and meaningful artifacts are being produced by a machine and craftsperson working together, not by a machine or craftsperson alone.

The featured creations come from skilled makers who use computational design tools in conjunction with traditional crafts such as jewelry, bowl-making, wallpapers, and instruments.


The Hunt for Butterflies
“The Hunt for Butterflies,” by Peter Schmitt

For artworks included in the display entitled “The Hunt for Butterflies,” independent artist Peter Schmitt uses CAD, CNC machine tools, wood, plastic, metal, electronics, and mechanics “to explore the questions of how computational methods, machine tools, and fabrication resources can be used outside the paradigm of application, function, purpose and profit.”

In another display, independent artist Yael Friedman displays 3D-printed puzzle rings that are not only meant to be seen, but also be touched and played with.

VR Village

In the 2015 VR Village, attendees can explore the fascinating potential of virutal reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and immersive environments for telling stories, engaging audiences, and powering real-world applications in health, education, design, and gaming.

The 2015 VR Village at SIGGRAPH 2015 will feature real-time immersion in the latest virutal and augmented realities, including Nomadic Virtual Reality (VR), Tabletop Augmented Reality (AR), Full-Dome Cinema, and live performances and demonstrations in a 360-degree immersion dome.  The VR Village is a screening room for cutting -edge VR, AR, and Immersive Media programming.

For example, in the walk-about space of the Nomadic VR Arena, participants will use untethered headsets to freely explore immersive virtual environments. During the Immersive Explorers program, multiple visitors can explore the recreated interior of a pharoah’s tomb while interacting with 3D objects and other users.

In the “Holojam” program visitors will share a virtual space and see each other as stylized avatars, draw shapes in the air with a magic wand, and contribute to 3D sculptural artwork.

At the sit-down or stand-up Head-Mounted Display Stations, attendees can experience the latest in VR and AR programming. “Neuro” provides a VR journey through the brain of world-renowned musician Reuben Wu. “LovR” is a story of love told through neural activity captured over four seconds. Experience what happens when two lovers see each other for the first time.

Occulus Rift in Virtual Reality: Immersive Explorers
Real Virtuality: Immersive Explorers. Copyright: 2015 Artanim Foundation, Kenzan Technologies. (Photo: Business Wire)

In the Immersion Dome, visitors can follow energy from the sun to the Earth and explore the atmosphere and oceans. Immersive visualizations from the California Academy of Sciences will enable visitors to experience the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and explore the Earth’s ecosystems over the millennia.

Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Immersive Environments are pat of a fast-growing, emerging market,” said Ed Lantz, SIGGRAPH 2015 VR Village Program Co-Chair. “As it grows, there will be room for alternative and independent producers, developers, distributors, and manufacturers to make important and original contributions to consumer products and programming. For the debut of SIGGRAPH’S VR Village, my co-chair Denise Quensel and I wanted to ensure that attendees have the chance to see amazing applications that have been developed by the world’s best programmers, cinematographers, artists, and game developers that are currently out there. We also hope to inspire and bring together the larger VR community.”

Speakers who will participate in moderated talks about “VR: Creating at the Edge” include executives from Walt Disney Imagineering R&D, Sony’s PlayStation Magic Lab, Emblematic Group, and Jaunt Studios.

Emerging Technologies

The Emerging Technologies program will feature projects from various industries that demonstrate how evolving technologies and techniques impact the way we live and work. Each project and installation exhibits how innovation can improve work environments, make everyday tasks easier, or help make leisure time more enjoyable.

“As technology builds upon itself and becomes cheaper and wider spread, it’s important to see the beginnings of how see the beginnings of how it it was developed,” said Kristy Pron, SIGGRAPH 2015 Emerging Technologies Program Chair. “For this year’s conference, we wanted to find technologies that can be applied to daily life, whether it will be tomorrow or in a few
to daily life,  It’s exciting to see firsthand a technology that you can follow the development of and know that it will be relevant to you in the near future. Also, we wanted to uncover practical applications of emerging technology from various industries, such as automotive or assistive. I believe we’ve done that with the wide range of interactive installations that will be showcased.”

SIGGRAPH 2015 Emerging Technologies demonstration highlights include:

An Auto-Multiscopic Projector Array for Interactive Digital Humans
Presented by Linkoping University and the University of Southern California

With this installation, users interact with life-size 3D digital human subjects displayed via a dense array of 216 video projectors to generate images with high angular density over a wide field of view. As users move around the display, their eyes transition from one view to the next, making it ideal for displaying life-size subjects and it allows for natural personal interactions with 3D cues, such as eye-gaze and spatial hand gestures. Automultiscopic 3D displays allow a large number of people to experience 3D content simultaneously without the need for special glasses or headgear.

Ford Immersive Vehicle Environment
Presented by the Ford Motor Company

The Ford Immersive Vehicle Environment (FiVE) is a highly realistic immersive virtual reality system that addresses the unique challenges of automotive  design, engineering and ergonomics. FiVE enables a collaborative approach that allows its program teams to see and understand complex engineering issues from any customer’s perspective; while, considering aesthetic design, fit and finish, manufacturability and maintenance of a vehicle’s system.

Christie Digital Sandbox
Presented by Christie Digital

Christie Digital’s latest technology expands the capabilities of today’s automatic projection-calibration systems. This demonstration uses this technology  application to seamlessly calibrate projection-mapped displays automatically on any surface, smooth or complex, and even 3D. Christie Digital’s Sandbox presents an automatic alignment of a projection display in less than 30 seconds, even after the projector and/or surface is moved.

Semantic Paint: Interactive Segmentation and Learning of 3D Worlds
Presented by Stanford University, Nankai University, University of Oxford and Microsoft Research

This installation is a real-time system, interactive system for geometric reconstruction and object class segmentation of 3D worlds. With this system, a user can walk into a room wearing a consumer-depth camera and a virtual reality headset, and reconstruct the 3D scene and interactively segment it into object classes. The user physically interacts with the scene in the real world, touching objects and using voice commands to assign appropriate labels to
these objects.

MidAir Touch Display
Presented by Keio University and the University of Tokyo

The MidAir Touch Display integrates technology for tactile feedback, acoustic energy distribution, planer phased arrays, ultrasonic fields and aerial images through the Aerial Imaging Plate to provide visuo-tactile interaction with bare hands. This project enables users to see and touch virtually floating objects with the naked eye and their hands for true interaction. This presentation is a SIGGRAPH pick from the DC Expo in Japan.




Augmented Reality Conference To Be Held in San Francisco

InsideAR, the epicenter of the rapidly growing world of Augmented Reality, is coming to San Francisco for the first time May 20-21, 2015.

The event is hosted by Metaio, the worldwide leader in Augmented Reality software, research and technology. With over 10 years of experience in Augmented Reality and Computer Vision, Metaio serves over 130,000 developers with over 1,000 published apps.  Metaio’s AR software reaches over 30 million consumers around the world.


Metaio products have been used to develop AR apps for everything from publishing, retailing, and  marketing to industrial engineering,maintenance,and manufacturing.

Metaio defines Augmented Reality (AR) as a technology that blends digital content into our real world. AR seeks to integrate our increasingly digitalized lifestyle with our physical lives in a seamless, natural way.

InsideAR offers a comprehensive introduction to Augmented Reality by bringing together innovators and stakeholders to share technical insights and the latest and greatest AR applications.

Network with futurists, global leaders in AR, and other creatives who are paving the way for an Augmented Reality future  Additional AR events will be held in Munich, Beijing, and Tokyo.


In San Francisco, InsideAR will be presented at The Village at 969 Market Street in the heart of San Francisco.

If you can’t attend the conference, the Metaio website features case studies and white papers about how augmented reality is being used in print, marketing, education, television, sales, and manufacturing.



About Metaio

Metaio Case Studies


Metaio Offers AR Creator Plug-In to InDesign


Metaio Offers Augmented Reality Creator Plug-In for Adobe InDesign

DESIGNERS. If you are looking for ways to make printed displays, packages, or posters more interactive, try adding a layer of augmented reality (AR). Metaio’s new plug-in for Adobe InDesign makes it easy to do.

Metaio Augmented Reality Creator plug-in for Adobe InDesign
Metaio Augmented Reality Creator plug-in for Adobe InDesign

With the new plug-in you can build and deploy augmented-reality experiences without leaving InDesign. You can construct tracking markers, then augment your InDesign layouts with AR content.

Metaio is a world leader in augmented reality research and technology. The company develops software products for creating visually interactive experiences that bridge the physical and virtual worlds. Users view the layer of AR content through the camera on their smartphone or tablet. Companies such as IKEA, Lego, Macy’s, and Toyota are a few of the brands that have used Metaio AR technology to make their marketing communications more engaging.

“By providing easy-to-learn AR functionality right inside Adobe InDesign, we are giving millions of creative professionals the ability to create original Augmented Reality experiences,” said Michael Kuhn of Metaio. “It is extremely important to Metaio that when users enter the world of Augmented Reality compelling content is waiting there for them.”

With the plug-in, you can not only create tracking marker,s but also evaluate them for tracking stability. A 3-star rating system lets you know whether your page design is suitable for AR. Once the page is optimized, you can insert images or embed videos and live hyperlinks. The images, videos, and web content that have been added to the augmented-reality layer then become visible when viewed through a tablet or smartphone.

You can also launch your project directly into Metaio Creator, a powerful, dedicated AR authoring tool.

You can deploy your work for free through the Junaio AR browser (iOS and Android) or even as a standalone app.

In October, Metaio gave live demonstrations of the plug-in at the Adobe Max conference in Los Angeles and InsideAR Munich: The Augmented Reality Conference.

The Metaio AR Creator Plug-in is available through the Adobe Exchange Store.



Adobe Exchange Store


Report Examines Future of Museums in Digital Age

MuseumsInDigitalAge-CoverA new report “Museums in the Digital Age” envisions a dynamic future for museums. Published by Arup’s Foresight + Research + Innovation group, the report contends that museums must move far beyond static objects in glass cases and offer more personalized content, new levels of sustainability, and visitor experiences that extend beyond present expectations of time and space.

“It is a common misconception that museums are designed to house objects,” notes Senior Analyst Josef Hargrave. “In fact they are designed to give visitors an experience.”

The report calls attention to cultural changes that may affect what visitors expect to experience, and suggests changes in museum design and technology investments that can help museums meet those expectations.

For example, the report recognizes that museums must cater to increasingly disparate visitor groups–from Facebook-using digital natives to aging Baby Boomers. Funding restrictions will put pressure on some museums to be both more profitable and more inclusive.

The report makes several recommendations:

  • Create more immersive experiences. As people become accustomed to having unlimited access to information, museums must figure out how to present their content in a manner that is appealing to all groups within society. Use innovations such as contact-less technology, augmented reality and face-recognition software to capture the imaginations of all visitor groups and enhance the physical experience.
  • Find innovative ways to use advancements in 3D printing. For example, 3D printing can enable the accurate reproduction of rare, damaged or previously unavailable objects. Accurately reproduced objects could be exhibited in multiple locations. Museums could also give visitors the option of creating a copy of the artifact to take home.
  • Consider creating nomad museums. Museums and the content they exhibit no longer need to be fixed to a certain point in space and time. Mobile museums, combined with digital access to collections can reach a wider demographic, shifting the notion of where and how museums can exist in the future.
  • Integrate sustainable and open spaces. In addition to managing water, heating and cooling systems more effectively, the museums of the future might shift towards the preservation and archiving of threatened living elements or the promotion of alternative food cultivation systems such as hydroponic farms.

Future Scenarios 

The report concludes with a number of future scenarios in the year 2040, envisioned by students in the Narrative Environments course at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in London. The students were mentored by the Arup Foresight + Research + Innovation team. Built on existing social and environmental trends, the scenarios provide drastic visions of the museum’s role in the future.

One such scenario includes museums functioning as a temporary retreat from future ‘mega-cities’, with vegetation helping to regulate environmental toxins. In this future, Kew Gardens will have a dual role as a research center and visitor attraction, becoming a driving force in the development of functional plants.

Another scenario envisions transient museum experiences, where objects are showcased on trains as they are returned back to their country of origin. Plugging into mass transit systems, the scheme presents the museum with an alternate business model, as a travel and tourism guide and international affairs ambassador.

In an increasingly globalized community, a move to deliver artifacts back to their country of origin would exemplify cultural awareness and might ease political tensions.

The 40-page report can be downloaded as a PDF from the Arup website.

About Arup

Headquartered in London, Arup is an independent consultancy that provides professional services in management, planning, design, and engineering. The Arup F+R+I Team identifies and monitors trends and issues that are likely to have a significant impact upon the built environment and society at large. Other reports available through the company’s website cover The Future of Retail, The Campus of the Future, and the Living Workplace.


Report: Museums in The Digital Age

About Arup


Images in NY Photo Exhibition Look Livelier When Viewed with Augmented Reality App

Two major printing conferences this fall (PRINT 13 and SGIA Expo) featured dozens of examples of how printed magazines, catalogs, packages, and signs can be linked to additional content designed to be immediately viewable through an app on a smartphone or tablet.

 KENNETH WILLARDT SIZE DOES MATTER“Size Does Matter,” the debut solo exhibition of photographer Kenneth Willardt,shows how all sorts of prints can be imaginatively enhanced with mobile-device-activated content.

When exhibit viewers download the 4D Viewer App onto their mobile devices, they can scan the 4D QR codes throughout the gallery and experience the printed art in an augmented-reality mode.

The “Size Does Matter” exhibition opened November 8 and runs through December 8 at the 558 Gallery in Chelsea, NY. It features large-scale, boldly colored nude shots of Wilhelmina plus-size supermodel Robyn Lawley posing with a menagerie of creatures. The images juxtapose size, shape and color to explore concepts of femininity, power and the natural world.

The exhibition is the first presentation of the non-commercial work of Danish photographer Kenneth Willardt. For the past decade, he has shot a wide array of actors, musicians and high-profile models (such as Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Claudia Schiffer and Julianne Moore) for both editorial and international advertising campaigns. He is known for his shoots of L’Oreal and Maybelline global spokesmodels.

558 Gallery is a private, independent art space that is open to the public by appointment only. Works in the “Size Does Matter” exhibition will be available in editions of five.

If you can’t attend the exhibition in person, visit a Milk Made post about the “Size Does Matter” exhibit and use the 4D Viewer app to scan the codes included with two images in the blog post. (It’s fun!)


Kenneth Willardt Photography


Milk Made Blog: Kenneth Willardt Presents “Size Does Matter”