A daily Japanese newspaper, the Tokyo Shimbun, has recently launched an app that allows children to scan specially-marked articles with their smartphone, which then reveals various kid-friendly content related to the article. An anime character, for instance, might pop up on a child’s smartphone screen and explain the article in kid-friendly terms. Various graphics and pop-up headlines may also be revealed.
The app, AR News, was developed by a Japanese firm known as Dentsu, which was contracted to create a solution that would make newspapers, and newspaper reading, more enjoyable to children. To use the app, a child simply has to find an article that’s been surrounded by a light-blue box—that’s the indication that a story has multimedia content hidden just beneath its surface.
This seems to me like an especially brilliant way to make print newspapers more exciting and interactive—for young readers especially—while bringing them firmly into the 21st century at the same time.
There’s no word yet, by the way, on whether or not Dentsu may eventually develop a similar app for grown-up newspaper fans.