Coding Week 2019

Augmented reality and books

The Goethe-Institut Namibia in collaboration with the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), the University of Namibia (UNAM) and the University of Applied Sciences – HTW Berlin are to host a week-long project on coding to create Smartphone AR (Augmented Reality) apps that will bring six Namibian books to life. Applying the concept of augmented reality to books, in particular children’s books, makes reading more interactive and relevant to the minds of today’s youth. Augmented reality is created through images and animations that are regarded as an extension to the book. 

The books are:

Benni I am Still Your Friend ©Michelle Gaugler Kuiseb Verlag BENNI Ich bin doch Dein Freund! “I am still your friend”. Author; Amlut Heddenhausen, illustrator; Michelle Gaugler, Kuiseb Publishers

Benni The Wildebeast May Not Die ©Michelle Gaugler Kuiseb Verlag BENNI, Das kleine Gnu darf nicht sterben! ”The little Wildebeest may not die!”. Author; Amlut Heddenhausen, illustrator; Michelle Gaugler, Kuiseb Publishers

Mina and the Magic Boabab Tree ©Frans Nambinga Kuiseb Verlag Mina and the Magic Bobab Tree. Author; Victoria Ndinelago Erasmus, illustrator; Fans Nambinga, Kuiseb Publishers

The Dancing Tortoise and the San Hunters of the Kalahari ©Amuthenu Petrus Yambeka Children Media The Dancing Tortoise and the San Hunters of the Kalahari. Author; Helvi Itenge- Wheeler; Illustrator Authenu Petrus, Yambeka Children Media

The Little Weaver Bird ©Deon Louw Wordweaver Publishing The Little Weaver Bird. Author; Allison Gardiner, Illustrator; Deon Louw, Word Weaver Publishing House


Namibian Magic Out of Africa Publishers © Out of Africa Publishers Namibian Magic. Author; Corrin-del Klopper, Illustrator; Maretha Garbers, Out of Africa Publishers

Six groups consisting of 12 information and communications technology students at NUST Windhoek and 6 from HTW Berlin, and 12 language students from UNAM in Windhoek will meet from 29 April to 03 May for them to produce Living Books Namibia - a Smartphone app for the selected books. Leading the project and directing proceedings is Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Jürgen Sieck. “We focus on application-oriented solutions in computer sciences,” he said. Sieck, who is also a professor at NUST, explained the projects of the coding week particularly examines augmented reality, interface design and algorithms for the optimisation of multimedia systems. “We dedicate our work to mobile information systems and applications for virtual learning, teaching and entertainment.” The outcome of the coding week will be presented on 03 May. Click here for more information.
The process of connecting old technology with new for the development of a reading culture in Namibia, is just one of the Goethe-Institut Namibia’s efforts. “The coding project is complementary to others such as the use of Smartboards and computer technology in storytelling, and the regular picture book cinema events the Library hosts,” said Head: Library and Information at Goethe-Institut Namibia, Detlef Pfeifer. He explained that the concept of an Augmented Reality has been applied to other books and identified as one of the many ways in which the relevance of the book can be promoted by modern technologies. “Using Augmented Reality is as simple as downloading the app from the Apple or Android store. The user has to start the app,  scanning pages of the book to activate the interactive and digital content on the Smartphone. That digital content is thus an extension to the physical book, which together create the Augmented Reality experience for a user,” explained Pfeifer.
Sieck and Pfeifer agree that apart from promoting a reading culture and preserving the use of books amongst the youth of Namibia, this project also gives young coders the opportunity to gain experience. “This coding week will challenge our students, not just in terms of time, but creating the ideal interface for a user to effectively engage with the digital content and experience the Augmented Reality app with pleasure,” said Sieck. Two of the students participating will travel to Berlin, where they will present their app at the Conference on Culture and Computer Science; Virtual History and Augmented Present.

HTW Berlin Logo ©HTW Berlin
UNAM Logo small ©University of Namibia NUST Logo small ©Namibia University of Science and Technology