Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

Children's Encyclopedias Offer Realistic Images, Video

Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

Children's Encyclopedias Offer Realistic Images, Video

Article excerpt

Publishers have been stepping up the quality and variety of children's encyclopedias, which nowadays can be used to display realistic moving images when linked with smartphones and tablet computers. Some of the publications even include full-length DVDs.

Drawing on realistic images from documentaries and other sources, the texts contain a large number of vivid, realistic photos and other graphics. Supporting the studies of primary school students, they can be enjoyed by adults, too.

Gakken Education Publishing Co. launched a series of children's encyclopedias known as "Zukan Live" in June. Comprising three volumes on insects, animals and dinosaurs, each book is available at a special discount price of 2,000 yen for this year only, excluding consumption tax.

The publisher focused on making the content realistic and well-researched, a public relations official at the company said. Readers can view related graphics using smartphones and tablet computers

These children's encyclopedias employ augmented reality (AR) technology, with which readers can use a free downloaded app to scan an image or logo in a book with a smartphone or tablet computer to call up related video clips and other media from the Internet.

The technology brings images to life, allowing children to watch everything from stag beetles fighting to dinosaurs in motion. "Insects" and "Animals" contain a total of 70 images that can be scanned for Internet access to video clips and other images, while the dinosaur volume features four 3-D pictures about dinosaurs.

These info-rich encyclopedias also come with a DVD containing content produced by the BBC. They even include special pages depicting photos of creatures and illustrations scaled to real-life sizes. For example, one page depicts a closeup photo of a tiger's mouth that allows readers to feel the texture of the big cat's tongue.

Other companies are offering similar illustrated texts. Shogakukan Inc., which began publishing its "Kodomo Zukan Pure Neo" (Children's illustrated encyclopedia) series in 2007, has so far sold more than 1.26 million copies.

The eighth volume of the series, released in February and titled "Yononaka no Zukan" (Encyclopedia on society), also employs AR technology. …

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