We’ve had ebooks, audiobooks, and naturally good old school printed books – however might there quickly be one other option to learn? So-called “augmented actuality books” – dubbed “a-books” by their creators – are a step nearer to mass-market manufacturing after a six-year challenge by researchers on the College of Surrey.

Whereas e book readers are used to with the ability to entry background data and further options, a-books would permit customers to swipe their fingers throughout a line in a bodily, printed e book and have associated content material flash up on their telephones, laptops or sensible TVs.

The primary industrial focus of the expertise is more likely to be helpful with journey guides and academic books, however is also tailored to fiction, says the senior lecturer on the college’s Advanced Technology Institute, Radu Sporea.

A reader might, for instance, run their finger over a personality’s identify to get their backstory to pop up on their telephone, or get a reminder of the storylines of earlier books in a sequence.

Whereas these options are generally out there for ebooks, the problem has been discovering a option to adapt the expertise for a bodily quantity “with out ruining the expertise of studying a paper e book”, mentioned Sporea.

“Clearly books have lots of enchantment for what we’d name their ‘bookness’, the very fact they’re on paper and also you deal with them a sure means, however there’s the limitation of this data being static,” he mentioned. The problem was the right way to combine the additional data “in a seamless means” with out “breaking apart your studying expertise”.

The analysis crew has simply unveiled its third technology of the a-book, having experimented with plenty of strategies, together with the usage of inks that react to mild and activate whenever you flip a web page. That methodology proved to not be viable exterior a laboratory as a result of “there’s not sufficient safety from oxygen and moisture within the ambiance”, Sporea mentioned.

The most recent answer is to embed ultra-thin photo voltaic panels between two halves of a single sheet of paper, which activate the a-book’s properties when a “magic bookmark” is laid on to a web page. The crew at the moment are working to develop the paper in order that it feels much less “unwieldy and thick”, Sporea mentioned.

The challenge has to date been helped with £900,000 of presidency funding and the crew is hoping to get company and e book business curiosity to assist additional develop and refine the expertise.

One bodily instance of the e book expertise in motion is the Climate Domesday Book, which will probably be exhibited later this yr within the UK and Australia, and which performs video and audio on the closest display, related to the passages highlighted by the reader.


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