Kids love seeing themselves: in photos, in videos, in the mirror. So it only makes sense that a new children's book incorporates a child's name and actual home.
Launched in Canada this month, "The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home" uses geotechnology and a lot of coding — along with a child's name and address that's entered online — to create a very personal book.
Lost My Name, the company behind it, uses images from NASA’s Creative Commons to create computer-generated replicas of stars and constellations, and then personalizes them for each book.
The child will see his or her name written in the stars, surrounded by images of uniquely generated galaxies.
The story itself is about a little girl or boy trying to find their way home. As the journey progresses, the book shows more and more personalized images, from the flag of the country the child lives in, to a local landmark, and finally to a high-quality satellite image of their own neighbourhood.
“It’s an epic journey of a child and her robot friend, all the way from the depths of outer space to their doorstep,” said company co-founder Asi Sharabi.
Sharabi’s interest in personalized children’s books started a few years ago when his daughter received one as a gift.
“That kind of warm and fuzzy feeling of seeing my daughter’s name in a book lasted exactly one second. It was like, 'Jesus, this is absolutely rubbish,'” he said in an interview with The Huffington Post Canada.
Personalized books have been on the market for about 45 years now, but they've never really taken off commercially, said Sharabi.
"Can we make a personalized book that doesn’t suck?”
“They were never really treated as a serious creative canvas, they were always just commercial gimmicks — just novelty,” Sharabi explained. “So this whole thing started with the humble quest of just, can we make a personalized book that doesn’t suck?”
His company found success in two earlier books, "The Little Girl Who Lost Her Name" and "The Little Boy Who Lost His Name," which has sold over 1.6 million copies in 176 countries.
'Bonkers with technology'
This latest book is being promoted as "the most technically advanced children’s publishing project ever created. "
Sharabi said the image of the child's neighbourhood is quite complex because geotechnology is “still a bit clunky,” so they created an algorithm that fixes any anomalies in the satellite images to ensure that they are the correct resolution.
“I think with this one we just went completely bonkers with the technology,” he said.
It's already got at least one big-name, out-of-this-world fan. Astronaut Tim Peake read "The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home" on the International Space Station in April.
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