The Sony Wonderbook will blow your mind. Or at least, it blows my mind. Making use of AR (Augmented Reality), The
Wonderbook creates an entire storybook out of a few otherwise meaningless symbols on the page.
The Wonderbook works in conjunction with the Playstation Move controller and camera, and they’re selling them all in a bundle this season just in case you have only the Playstation PS3 currently.
The only other thing you need to have to make it work well is a lot of light; the camera needs to be able to be “see” the book on the floor, so a darkened room is no good. You also may need to prop the book up a bit so it faces the camera for a really good view.
The Wonderbook launched this holiday season with a terrific first title – JK Rowling’s Book of Spells imagines the world of a
student at Hogwarts learning magic, and the technology lets you actually create magic in your living room.
The game takes you through learning basic spells, like “wingardium leviosa,” to entering a wizard’s lair, to helping tell a
story with puppets. And you don’t need to know the Harry Potter stories inside & out to enjoy Book of Spells. It works as well for newbies as for full-fledged Potter nerds.
In fact, the game appeals to all ages because the Augmented Reality (AR) is so fresh and well done.
The AR technology means in theory that you could buy the “book” just once and play each new game on the same set of pages of symbols. We’ll see if that turns out to be true as Wonderbook is with us a while.
Surely other game makers will be developing their own versions of the Wonderbook soon and we’ll get to see other advances that way, too.
Personally, I am excited to see educational applications of AR, and I think the Wonderbook is just the tip of the iceberg, albeit a pretty fun tip. Perhaps this will signal the end of the overhead projector, since a piece of software, a move controller and camera set-up could create quite an engaging lesson for kids. Can you imagine? Keep it up, wizards!
Sarah was given a Wonderbook by Sony for review. The opinions expressed are her own.