Books: Completing the Connection Between the Analog and Digital Worlds
As digital media in the form of portable devices, touch-screens and pervasive wireless networks offer new possibilities for interaction, the traditional book defined by UNESCO, “As a non periodical printed publication of at least 49 pages excluding covers,” starts to look rather featureless when compared to electronic versions. But the traditional book has many advantages too - not least the comfort of tradition itself. The BlueBook aims to find a compromise between these two objects, between the digital and the physical.
The BlueBook created by Manolis Kelaidis at the Royal College of Art in London is a traditional book over-printed with conductive ink. This conductive ink creates hyperlinks on the page which, when touched by the reader, activates a processor concealed in the cover of the book. This processor then connects via Bluetooth to a nearby computer, triggering different actions.
Imagine reading a book like the Da Vinci Code and being able to Google the name of one of the pieces of art or societies such as the Knights Templar by touching a word in the book. This was the vision Manolis Kelaidis described at a recent “Tools of Change for Publishing Conference.” He described his project to integrate digital content into physical books via circuits printed in conductive ink on the same page as the text. From the description of his session we learn the following:
“Books have always had problems representing animation. Static pictures simply cannot compete with moving images for illustrating moving things. When describing complex technical activities, like bookbinding, video descriptions are invaluable yet so is detailed verbal description which is often more accessible in print than when spoken.
One of the most important aspects of the internet is its capacity for collaboration. From blogs to the wikipedia, from chat forums to project management websites, the internet has enabled productive discussion between complete strangers. With a button at the end of an essay, you can immediately discover and take part in the ongoing internet discussion relating to it.