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High-tech kids book an example to wood industry

26 November 2003 Media release

High-tech kids book an example of the innovation the wood industry needs

The development of a three-dimensional children’s book is an example of the innovation the New Zealand economy needs, Economic Development Minister, Progressive Leader Jim Anderton says.

Speaking at the launch of Human Interface Technology Laboratory's (HIT Lab) ‘EyeMagic’ today, the Progressive Party leader said a huge new range of educational opportunities will be opened up if we can transform children’s reading.

‘EyeMagic’ is a collaborative project between HIT Lab NZ and children’s writer and illustrator Gavin Bishop. Using HIT Lab’s technology, Gavin’s picture book, Giant Jimmy Jones has been transformed into three-dimensional virtual content.

“We need far more high value industries in New Zealand. We need to sell far more high value products to the world,” Jim Anderton said.

“You might have heard I’ve enjoyed some public debate with members of our wood industry this week. That is an industry with two camps. One of those camps wants to keep exporting cheap, low value logs to the world.
The far-sighted industry wants to process the logs into high-value products, worth up to thirty times as much as a raw log. The jobs and the value of the processing would stay in New Zealand.”

Jim Anderton said the best thing about Giant Jimmy Jones eyeMagic is it is the result of partnerships to develop New Zealand creativity.

“The technology is creative. The content of the book is creative. This innovation results from the arts and science coming together. Creative New Zealand and the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology worked together to bring us to this point. They set up the ‘Smash Palace Collaborations Fund’, which funded this project. It shows the potential of students working together across various disciplines - psychology, fine arts, engineering and computer science.”

HIT Lab is described as a ‘multi-disciplinary human-computer interface research lab dedicated to revolutionizing the way people interact with computers’. It’s based at the University of Canterbury, and was set up under funding partnership programme between the Ministry of Economic Development and the University of Canterbury.

ENDS

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