“Talking” paper with embedded digital information – that you need only touch for sound to flow out of printed speakers. The information technology of the future was already here in 2007!
At the 2007 Student & Knowledge Fair in Gothenburg and the Communicare conference in Sundsvall, the interactive paper was put into use for the first time. It was a research team at Mid Sweden University’s forest industrial research programme FSCN (Fibre Science and Communication Network) that had worked on developing the fourth generation of paper products which can communicate with computers.
The project was called Paper Four and the researchers wanted to examine and demonstrate the possibilities that existed in design and technology to make a paper interactive with its surroundings.
– Our interactive paper combined printed graphic codes and electronically conductive ink that created touch sensitive surfaces or buttons. Then, digital information was embedded and at a touch, sound flowed out of printed speakers, says Mikael Gulliksson, who was the project leader of media technology in the extensive research project.
First, the research team made a billboard, then a poster and finally a children’s book, a so called alphabet book, with talking letters. Part of the challenge was thus to be able to reduce the size.
– The poster is in fact still being used by a school in South America which educates deaf and blind interpreters, Mikael tells us.
The project Paper Four later changed into Live Paper, which focused on how the interactive paper could be commercialized. Among other things, it resulted in one company that today produces acoustic tapestries and another one that makes printed sensors.