Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Augmented reality comes to portably printed photos

We’ve all heard of augmented reality and how it can extend what we see, but now you can make it happen for real with only a printer and an app.

The ease and ubiquity of cameras in our phones has made it possible to capture more memories than most would ever dream. You can record the best moments in video and image stills, but did you know there’s also a third option?

Memories can be more than static images these days, if you’ve ever wanted to expand a still image into something that jumps off the screen, that is now a possibility as well.

While few of us truly take the time to print photos out, anyone looking for a way to make the printed photo a little more interesting now has an option in an augmented reality print out.

Not quite what it seems, it’s a concept dabbled in by Lifeprint, allowing you to print a photo on paper and embed video inside.

Yes, the paper is real paper, and no, the paper isn’t technically a screen like what you can find on a tablet or an eReader. Rather, the idea connects a video to the printed image using an app, as a fairly new concept arrives to the market.

It’s a new take on the portable photo instant printers Kodak, Dell, and Polaroid have dabbled in before, using Zero Ink paper also known as “Zink”, which uses a special colour-infused paper to print photos from a smartphone quickly over WiFi or Bluetooth.

Before it comes out, however, the makers of this little toy — Lifeprint — connect the video to its app, using what it called “Augmented Reality Hyperphoto” technology to tie the printed image to the app and play the video when the app is shown the print-out.

“By adding a digital and social element to something as classic as an instant photo, we are sprinkling a touch of millennial to those old school photo albums and photo walls, and catering to the needs of a new-age market,” said Robert Macauley, Co-Founder of Lifeprint Photos.

Lifeprint's video photo printer
Yep, that’s the Zink paper we remember: with a sticker back.

The technology appears fairly user friendly, with a portable Zero Ink printer connected to a phone that looks at images and videos, and ties the two together with a printed image.

We see this idea as more of a bit of fun, mind you, as anyone can share a video of something without having to print anything out. If you wanted to, you could send a video of friends and family using messaging services or email, and you wouldn’t need to print anything out in the process.

However Lifeprint’s take offers a cute little retro reinvention of the Polaroid instant image, connecting a little more than an image to a printer you can bring with you.

You’ll find Lifeprint’s printer in JB HiFi and Apple stores now for $149.99, with the Zink cartridge film found in 20 or 40 packs for $30 and $50 respectively.

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