Interactive Paper Four Sounds Off

Interactive paper from Mid Sweden University uses pressure-sensitive conductive inks and printed speakers to talk with viewers. The latest generation of paper products is dubbed 'paper four' by researchers.


(Interactive paper billboard)

"The first generation of paper was for display, like books," says Mikael Gulliksson, a researcher at Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden, "the second for packaging, and the third for hygiene - we are investigating what the fourth might be."

The interactive paper billboard shown above is made in layers with a three-centimeter thick back layer of Wellboard - extra-strong cardboard - forming the substrate. A sheet of paper that is screen-printed with conductive ink is then placed on the base, with a second sheet of paper on top of that with the printed design and text.

When the middle conductive layer is connected to a power supply, simple microelectronics make sounds when touch sensors are triggered. The sensors are made by printing a fine pattern of conductive lines; when current flow is altered by a hand placed upon it, the sensor fires.

Speakers are cleverly are made by printing electromagnets out of conductive ink; the paper is then stretched over a cavity (like a speaker cone) behind the billboard.

Researchers hope to make the process cheap enough to be used with product packaging as well.

Harlan Ellison wrote about something similar to this in his 1974 short story do-it-yourself - a talking pamphlet:

"Uh, where are you?" Madge asked nervously.

"Where am I where? the pamphlet responded in confusion.

"Yes, precisely," she responded.

"Dear Purchaser, you are perplexing me," the pamphlet cried.
(Read more about the talking pamphlet)

Via BBC.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/6/2007)

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