Augmented reality used to create 'scariest cover in magazine history'

The July issue of BBC Worldwide's science and technology magazine
Focus uses augmented reality to make your skin crawl.

The front cover of the magazine shows an image of a "Scream-style mask," referring to the popular horror movie series. When readers visit the 3D section of Focus magazine's website and hold the image on the cover up to their web camera, a spider will appear to crawl out of the eye of the mask and run across the page.

In addition to having the "scariest cover in magazine history," Focus's July issue also uses augmented reality to show a video of an exploding death star and a 3D model of two neutron stars colliding.

"This technology offers readers a completely new interactive experience and helps take printed magazines to a whole new digital level. We have already launched augmented reality magazine covers in the US and France and there's definitely the potential for augmented reality to become a more regular feature of magazine publishing as the technology evolves in the future," explained Myles Peyton, EMEA Sales Director at Total Immersion, the company responsible for helping develop Focus's augmented reality cover.

Digital magazines and newspapers are starting to infiltrate virtual magazine stands on mainstream consumer devices and may soon become mainstream consumers' chosen method of content consumption. Meanwhile, many publishers complain they are suffering from poor newsstand sales. In an effort to increase these sales publishers have been testing the integration of new technologies into their publications.

In July 2009, Popular Science magazine took its readers on an augmented reality trip with the first interactive 3D augmented reality magazine cover, while in September 2009 Entertainment Weekly became the first magazine to show video in print when it integrated a small screen into the pages of its magazine.

The July issue of Focus will go on sale on June 3 in the UK, priced at £3.60. The augmented reality views can be triggered by visiting http://www.bbcfocusmagazine.com/3d.

A video of Focus' augmented reality can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDBK8R-O3EQ&feature=player_embedded

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