All I want to do for this review of POPAR Toys’ Princess and Her Pals 3D book is show you pictures. That’s how stunning and amazing this augmented reality storybook is; I don’t think anything I say could be as convincing as the images. But I’ll try.
POPAR Toys has staked out space in the technology-education world that nobody knew previously existed. They have created a line of books, adventures kits, interactive learning cards and puzzles that all combine Augmented Reality with, well, reality.
And it is absolutely amazing. So amazing, in fact, that Mr. Learning Treehouse–who is a computer programmer– says it made his brain seize up trying to comprehend what he was seeing.
That’s not because it’s hard to see. Quite the opposite, in fact. Once we opened the Princess and Her Pals 3D book, went to iTunes and the Google Play store to download the free app to accompany it, we were off on an adventure like we had never experienced before.
Picture a pop-up book on which you can view the pop-up only when you want to, watch that pop-up scene come to life and read you the words on the page and then have the ability to pull that pop-up scene off the page and interact with it outside of the book. It’s almost impossible to think about, right? Not with this book. That’s exactly what it does.
Not to mention, on its own, even without the AR component, the story ”Chasing Rainbows” is compelling and the illustrations on the page are beautifully captivating. You can read the book with your child to learn all about the lives of the royal Rainbow Princesses as they get ready for the Rainbow Ball.
Check it Out:
The Technical Stuff:
We tried this out with a number of different devices, including an iPad, an Android smartphone, a laptop with a built-in webcam and using an external webcam with the laptop. All of the apps and software were easy to locate, easy to download and were quick to install.
We had the best experience with this book using the iPad and other mobile devices. The mobile device camera allowed us to move with the book as opposed to moving the book toward the camera and the app worked with the Augmented Reality marker on each page instead of having to position the “i” paddle in the frame.
The “i” paddle is a feature that is used with the software for computers. It’s a heavy-weight paper paddle that can be removed from the front of the book and placed next to the code on each page to help the software recognize the page and make it do its AR magic.
Our second-best user experience was using a laptop with an external webcam. Since the whole book needs to be in view, we found that an external webcam can be placed up high on a monitor or shelf and can pointed down toward the book on a table.
The most difficult user experience was using a laptop with a built-in webcam. In order for the AR feature to work we had to hold the book up to the webcam, but yet far enough back to get the whole book in view with the “i” paddle. It didn’t leave much leeway to have hands free to work the mouse or anything else.
The Bottom Line
Even the most difficult user experience with this Augmented Reality book was fantastic. POPAR Toys has created a mind-blowing product. I can’t wait to get my hands on the interactive cards and puzzles. In fact, I think Kid Tester #2 and Mr. Learning Treehouse were browsing the POPAR Toys website to see which one they are going to order. I hope they let me have some say…