Colouring books and crayons often have a hard time competing against smartphone games and YouTube videos, especially as children come into contact with mobile devices from a very early age. Researchers at the Game Technology Center have combined the advantages of classic toys with the potential of virtual reality to bring new life to the playroom.

The researchers are calling their new applications “augmented creativity”. They aim to make drawing, painting, music and play more fun by using augmented reality, which means blending the real environment with animated and virtual elements.

The app is called GTC Showcase and is available for free download in all app stores as of today. It contains three modules that aim to encourage children’s creativity and inspire their imagination.

he AR Colouring book module lets children colour a character with regular paper and pens and then transfer this onto a 3D character shown on the display. The AR Band module allows budding musicians to arrange their own song, try out virtual musical instruments and combine different musical styles. The AR Museum module makes visiting museums an interactive experience; the software lets you change the shape and colour of paintings on the screen.

The three modules are all based on the same technology, which was presented by the scientists in a professional publication in 2016. In principle, augmented creativity can be applied to any kind of space, whether a book, a room or an entire city. “Our apps make use of children’s enthusiasm for digital devices, but at the same time encourage them to interact more deeply with their surroundings,” says Bob Sumner, head of the Game Technology Center.

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