Some gimmicky magazine technology that may be cool one day

The Wall Street Journal this morning reports (paywall protected) that the December issue of Esquire will include some “augmented reality” features that, when held up to a video camera, will trigger some video. While the phrase “augmented reality” is about to become one of those terms you’ll get sick of hearing because it will soon mean anything, so therefore nothing, the “idea” holds some promise unlike the incredibly awful blinking cover technology Esquire tried last year.

While I have not seen the issue of Esquire and don’t know exactly what they’ll be doing, last year a German automotive magazine and Mini Cooper joined up to create something that may give you a taste of what can happen when you link up new media and old in ways that create something completely new (unlike when you try to replicate old media with new media and you end up with something stupid). I’ve embedded a video below that demonstrates how it was done.

Warning: Early iterations of these approaches will be expensive, gimmicky, silly and only-for-nerds. But somewhere down the road, they will make sense and will be used to do things we haven’t even thought of yet. Stay tuned.

A brief video about an “augmented reality” ad appearing “in” a German automotive magazine in 2008.

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  • That's awesome. I'm all for anything that lets the consumer get a real feel of the product before they decide to purchase.

    I agree, right now – it's very gimmicky, and probably expensive. (In other words, there's a reason that Mini did it, and not another auto company.) However, with open source tools like Blender (a 3D modeling program), and some of the new open source flash rendering systems like Papervision 3D (which is only a game engine at the present, but can be modified), we could see experiences like this become cheaper at a rapid rate.

  • Colors has done something similar, and more interesting, in its latest issue. The only problem: you have to hold the page up to the camera, so blocking the screen on any computer with a built-in webcam..

  • danbloom

    Do we need a new word for “reading” on screens? MAYBE? and what might that word be?

    Rex ? ever think about this? can you blog on this one day, pro or con?

    danny in Tawian
    http://zippy1300.blogspot.com

    Danny Bloom says he's on a crusade to find a new word for “reading”
    on “computer screens and Kindle and Nook screens” — other than
    “reading”, that is! — and so far he's met nothing but opposition and
    roadblocks along the way.

    But that has not stopped the lone blogger in Taiwan from his quixotic
    quest. He says he's pushing forward with his public crusade, step by
    step, despite the many setbacks, adding: “Sometimes I feel this is
    like pushing a heavy stone up a steep hill, only to have it roll back
    a few feet every time we advance a few inches.”

    “Very few people in the education and technology fields agree with me
    on this novel idea, but I remain determined,” Bloom says. “In fact, a
    few experts and forecasters around the country have told me privately
    that this crusade is worth it, if only to start a national discussion
    on the future of reading and the future of E-readers.”

    Reading on screens is a whole new ballgame, Bloom contends, and he
    believes the culture needs a new word for this new human activity. “It
    is more than just reading,” he says. “On a screen, you scroll, you
    link, you see photos and videos, you use a mouse or buttons on a
    Kindle, and then of course, you read. This is uber-reading. This is
    reading-plus-one. So I feel we need a new word for this, although I
    have no idea what that word will be in the end, because as many people
    have told me in the past year, new words happen organically and
    naturally, when the time is right, and when the need becomes more than
    apparent. So this is all just to jumpstart the discussion.”

    Bloom, a 1971 graduate of Tufts in Boston, is in his 60s now, and says
    he reads on both paper surfaces and screens every day, and he loves
    both. One is not a priori better or worse than the other, just
    different, he adds, echoing the words of futurist Paul Saffo in San
    Francisco, who told him that in a recent email.

    Some people online have suggested such words as “screening” and
    “screading”, Bloom says, adding: “Who knows which words we will adopt
    for this or when? I have no idea. I just like thinking about it now,
    and when the time is right, the new words or terms will come. One
    blogger told me we might even need two words for this, one for reading
    on computer screens, which are backlit, and another for reading on
    e-readers like the Kindle or the Nook, which use E-Ink for the
    screens.

    Bloom said he's open to all suggestions for the new words, and says
    he's patient while at the same time steadfast and committed to this
    seeminly impossible crusade. “Patience is my middle name,” he says,
    with a chuckle.

    Suggestions for this lone name-crusader in Taiwan? All ideas are
    welcome, Bloom says, who says readers may send in their nominations to
    him at danbloom@gmail.com on his email connection.

  • danbloom

    Do we need a new word for “reading” on screens? MAYBE? and what might that word be?

    Rex ? ever think about this? can you blog on this one day, pro or con?

    danny in Tawian
    http://zippy1300.blogspot.com

    Danny Bloom says he's on a crusade to find a new word for “reading”
    on “computer screens and Kindle and Nook screens” — other than
    “reading”, that is! — and so far he's met nothing but opposition and
    roadblocks along the way.

    But that has not stopped the lone blogger in Taiwan from his quixotic
    quest. He says he's pushing forward with his public crusade, step by
    step, despite the many setbacks, adding: “Sometimes I feel this is
    like pushing a heavy stone up a steep hill, only to have it roll back
    a few feet every time we advance a few inches.”

    “Very few people in the education and technology fields agree with me
    on this novel idea, but I remain determined,” Bloom says. “In fact, a
    few experts and forecasters around the country have told me privately
    that this crusade is worth it, if only to start a national discussion
    on the future of reading and the future of E-readers.”

    Reading on screens is a whole new ballgame, Bloom contends, and he
    believes the culture needs a new word for this new human activity. “It
    is more than just reading,” he says. “On a screen, you scroll, you
    link, you see photos and videos, you use a mouse or buttons on a
    Kindle, and then of course, you read. This is uber-reading. This is
    reading-plus-one. So I feel we need a new word for this, although I
    have no idea what that word will be in the end, because as many people
    have told me in the past year, new words happen organically and
    naturally, when the time is right, and when the need becomes more than
    apparent. So this is all just to jumpstart the discussion.”

    Bloom, a 1971 graduate of Tufts in Boston, is in his 60s now, and says
    he reads on both paper surfaces and screens every day, and he loves
    both. One is not a priori better or worse than the other, just
    different, he adds, echoing the words of futurist Paul Saffo in San
    Francisco, who told him that in a recent email.

    Some people online have suggested such words as “screening” and
    “screading”, Bloom says, adding: “Who knows which words we will adopt
    for this or when? I have no idea. I just like thinking about it now,
    and when the time is right, the new words or terms will come. One
    blogger told me we might even need two words for this, one for reading
    on computer screens, which are backlit, and another for reading on
    e-readers like the Kindle or the Nook, which use E-Ink for the
    screens.

    Bloom said he's open to all suggestions for the new words, and says
    he's patient while at the same time steadfast and committed to this
    seeminly impossible crusade. “Patience is my middle name,” he says,
    with a chuckle.

    Suggestions for this lone name-crusader in Taiwan? All ideas are
    welcome, Bloom says, who says readers may send in their nominations to
    him at danbloom@gmail.com on his email connection.