Magazines in which the words and pictures just sit there on the page are so 20th-century. In the future, magazines may spring to life when we pass our electronic devices over them like magic wands. At least, they will if Funn Magazine gets its way.
Funn, currently raising funds on Kickstarter, is touting itself as the world's first holographic magazine. While "world's first" claims are always a little hard to verify, I wasn't able to find another magazine that's doing quite the same thing.
Sure, there are magazines out there that make use of augmented reality -- whereby you get additional content that enhances what's on the page by scanning an image or code -- but such content is almost always two-dimensional.
When you scan a page in Funn Magazine, using Funn's accompanying app, the additional images really pop off the page as you view it through your phone or tablet. What's more, you can move your device around and see behind objects.
If you download the free app for iOS or Android you can try out the technology for yourself on Funn Magazine's Kickstarter page by looking at the provided images through your smartphone or tablet. As you can see, there are floating TVs on which you can change the channel, "360-degree spheres" which imitate a virtual-reality environment and lots of other eye candy to feast on. The app also has a flashlight button for reading in dimly lit rooms and a camera button that lets you capture any favorite views.
The sample pages on the Kickstarter page load a little slowly at the moment. According to Funn founder Dennis Pinheiro, that's because they're full of content. He told CNET's Crave blog that his group is working to lighten up the pages so they'll load twice as fast. He also indicated that if the Kickstarter succeeds in getting fully funded, Funn will move to much faster servers that will help with load time.
One issue I encountered using the app was that because you have to hold your phone or tablet over the page, things look pretty shaky, so the reading experience would be a lot better if you mounted your device in a holder and flipped through the magazine beneath it. Otherwise, steady hands will certainly help.
I'm not sure I could spend hours reading a magazine this way, but the novelty factor is indeed high. I've gone back to the Kickstarter page to play around with the images a few times today -- and not only because I'm writing about it.
Another challenge is the price. It'll cost you a $25 Kickstarter pledge (that's about £16.50 or AU$35, available worldwide) to secure a single issue. The issue contains 100-120 pages, so it's substantial, but that's still a lot to pay for a magazine. If you think of it more as a living book, the cost starts to make a little more sense. Higher pledge levels promise additional rewards like holographic posters, stickers and a coaster with content to be continuously updated.
The Funn team is attempting to raise a total of $20,000 (about £13,215, AU$27,640). They are almost halfway there with 18 days left in the campaign. If they're successful, they say to expect the magazine in January, in other words, next month. That seems like an aggressive timeline, so if you pledge, remember that crowdfunding campaigns often go way over schedule and have been known to not deliver as expected.