Will.i.am launched an augmented reality app that brings comic book pages to life
- Black Eyed Peas musician Will.i.am released an augmented reality app for his graphic novel "Masters of the Sun: The Zombie Chronicles'."
- The app lets fans go deeper into the storyline and characters.
- Stan Lee narrates the experience, and celebrities like Mary J Blige, Rosario Dawson, and Snoop Dog add voiceovers.
Your comic book-loving grandpa is about to get a shock.
On Friday, musician and Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am released an augmented reality app that takes the pages of the graphic novel he published earlier this year and brings them to life.Hold the your phone over the book and the story's zombies are enlivened with animation; characters in the graphic novel get voiceovers from a laundry list of celebrities including Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah, Mary J Blige, Rosario Dawson, and Snoop Dog.
The graphic novel, "Masters of the Sun: The Zombie Chronicles," targets hip-hop fans with its L.A. gang culture meets Egyptology and zombie plotline, and the AR app let readers dive deeper into the storyline and its characters with 90 minutes of content.
"The story borrows from pop culture, and what's happening in our own community, it's the first of its kind, will.i.am told Business Insider in an interview.
The newness and creativity of the project helped attract the celebrity cast, he said.
"Everyone wants to be part of something that moves the needle," said Will.
The experience is narrated by legendary former Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Stan Lee, and scored by Academy-award-winning composer Hans Zimmer.
A virtual reality version is coming next
"We did the book first for the traditionalists, and will expand upon it with augmented reality and then virtual reality," Will said.
This isn't his first foray into technology. In 2011, he was named Director of Creative Innovation by Intel, and in 2012 founded i.am+, a consumer technology startup that recently raised $117 million for a voice-assistant for customer service.
He said he became "hip" to AR while working at Intel, and has wanted to create something using the technology ever since. The app itself was developed with Trigger Global, a mixed-reality company that has developed content for clients like Google, Mattel, and Red Bull.
The app is set to be released on iOS and Android and will cost $1.99. Of course, to use the app, fans will also have to buy the novel.