the kicker

German Paper Tries Augmented Reality for Print

And we aren’t sure why
August 20, 2010

A post on Techcrunch Europe yesterday alerted us to an experiment by the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung to animate their weekly magazine supplement with a mobile app. The latest edition of SZ Magazin is “fully Augmented Reality supported.” Get the magazine in the mail, then download an app to your smartphone, hover the phone’s camera over the pages of the magazine, and watch as the photos transform into videos, or shift to alternate shots. (This might not make sense at all until you watch the video of the app in action, below.)

Is this a gimmick to get press? Is it just a playful experiment, doing something because they can? Or is SZ trying to ease its readers’ transition from print to digital? We’ve seen print magazines push readers to their respective Web sites with promises of “exclusive Web extras” online. And we’re just now starting to see magazines publish slightly different editions exclusively for viewing with a phone or a tablet. But we’ve never seen a mobile app that actually physically interacts with its own print version before.

Lauren Kirchner is a freelance writer covering digital security for CJR. Find her on Twitter at @lkirchner