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This new app combines classic toys with augmented reality’s potential

GTC Showcase, which launches today, adds a whole new dimension to the likes of colouring books and crayons – and, as it happens, museum visits.

Children are exposed to mobile devices from an early age, and traditional toys, as a result, sometimes have a hard time competing. But could augmented reality (AR) breathe new life into the likes of colouring books and crayons?   

Researchers at ETH Zurich’s Game Technology Center believe so. They’ve created an app – freely downloadable from today (November 21) – that blends painting, drawing and music with AR experiences.

It’s called GTC Showcase, and among its features is an AR colouring book that creates 3D versions of paper-drawn characters. Its AR band module, meanwhile, enables young musicians to compose their own tunes and experiment with virtual instruments.

A third module, AR Museum, allows the shape and colour of paintings to be changed – meaning the museum experience suddenly becomes more interactive.

“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,” explained Bob Sumner, the Game Technology Center’s head.