Augmented reality used by Toronto Star to bring news to life

Layar Augmented Reality App

The traditional print newspaper used mobile technology to give it an online advantage.

The Toronto Star newspaper took the experience that it was providing to its readers to a new level as it applied augmented reality to some of its print pages in order to provide a unique and enhanced experience to its readers.

Ahead of the release, the newspaper put out a video to show how the AR tech would work.

In order to achieve this augmented reality feat, the Star partnered with Layar, an AR company based in Amsterdam, to make sure that the Thursday paper would be able to “come alive in a way it never has before.”

Readers were required to download the Layar augmented reality app to view the enhancements on the pages.

The Layar app is available for both iOS and Android devices and allowed the user to simply hold the device over a section of the newspaper, as a kind of viewfinder, to allow the augmented reality to make it appear as though that section will “spring into motion.”


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Among the teasers that the Toronto Star did release in order to boost the hype about the augmented reality features, were the ability to “meet” some of the favorite writers for the paper, to “gaze in wonder” at the Northern Lights, and to be able to watch and listen to the “sounds of Toronto.” It also provided a sneak peak at the new Ripley’s Aquarium that is slated to open soon in near the city’s famous CN Tower.

The newspaper also took a unique tack with the use of the augmented reality technology in order to not only bring the stories to life but to provide more up to date information. One of the features on the front page was a live feed that was streamed from the new Ripley’s Aquarium at the popular St. Lawrence Market, which has not yet opened. The feed ran from 6am for nearly 12 hours. It featured continual updates from people who dropped by, allowing them to share the one word that they felt was best for describing the city. That way, when readers hovered their devices over the page using the Layar app, they would be able to see the latest in real time.

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