Disney is bringing magic to real life with a little help from technology. The studio behind favourites such as Cinderella and Frozen is working on a texturing technology that will transform regular colouring books into 3D in real time.

The company’s science and technology department, Disney Research, attended the IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality a few weeks ago to present a paper on “Live Texturing of Augmented Reality Characters from Colored Drawings.”

The concept is similar to the previous technology showcased by Crayola around December last year which makes use of regular coloring books that turn into 3D with a use of a mobile app. The “Crayola Color Alive! App” uses color recognition that accurately transforms the image on the flat page of the book into 3D creatures. Disney Research, however, tries to go beyond.

The augmented reality technology presented by Disney will track and transform the images in real-time. This makes the child seem like he or she is interacting with the character and helping to bring the image come to life.

“Coloring books capture the imagination of children and provide them with one of their earliest opportunities for creative expression. However, given the proliferation and popularity of digital devices, real-world activities like coloring can seem unexciting, and children become less engaged in them. Augmented reality holds unique potential to impact this situation by providing a bridge between real-world activities and digital enhancements”, the company stated.

Unfortunately, the app is still on its development stage and likely will not be available from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store this year.

Disney is not the only company that is trying to woo children born in the digital age away from the screens of their iPads. Mattel, which has been seeing a significant decline in revenue after children start wishing for an iPhone for Christmas instead of a Barbie Doll, has released a Google VR headset in the fashion of a “View-Master.” Fisher Price introduced a new line of “smart plushies” that talk and engaged with a child during playtime.

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