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A talking journal, you say?

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To take full advantage of the AR functionality of this article, download the third-party Zappar app from the Apple App store or Google Play onto your cell phone or tablet and view the article through the app

In the latest issue of Research Information, there is an article on the subject of augmented reality – and the possibilities of using the technology in the world of academic publishing.

On page 20 is an image portraying an imagined front page of a newspaper – the Daily Impact. While the image is on the face of it quite unremarkable, if look at it through your mobile phone using an app called Zappar it springs to life and begins to play a short animated video that is ‘locked’ to the magazine page beneath.

The technology, being developed by Cactus Communications, is remarkably reminiscent of the magical newspaper, theDaily Prophet, that appeared throughout the Harry Potter series of films – but it could have exciting implications in the world of education and academia, and in many other areas of publishing.

Imagine technical drawings that spring into animated life in the pages of medical textbooks or journals, short videos of laboratory processes that might otherwise take thousands of words to explain, or animations that sum up technical features or white papers.

Indeed, the best way to experience this technology is to download the Zappar app, let your phone hover over the image above, and check out the wizardry yourself (though you can read a longer explanation here).

Wingardium leviosa!