Clever paper…very clever.

October 15, 2012

in Technology

More and more of us are using mobile platforms as a way of catching up with news and current affairs.  Smartphones and tablets are transforming how the news industry works but there is about to be a revolution in paper technology that could mean a sea change on how we use printed newspapers. 



A collaboration between Sussex, Dundee and the Unversity of Central Lancashire is developing an interactive paper that integrates the rich media of the web with traditional newsprint.  In conjunction with a technology company and funded by the Digital Economy Programme the three universities are working on printed electronics that work in conjunction with paper that allows touch functionality to any printed page.

Imagine the possibilities - a printed page that can turn into an interactive display.  Your newspaper could read the stories aloud to you or interact with online polls and social media.  How many times have you sat in a restaurant while on holiday abroad and have not been able to translate all of the dishes, wondering how your nut allergy is going to stand-up to an uninformed food choice?  Interactive paper menus could offer spoken translations of all the ingredients.  On a community level, you could have interactive paper notice boards that allow clubs to broadcast short SMS and voice-mail messages to other members.

Of course, mobile technology already provides all of these options and interactive paper will never slow the tide of users migrating to smartphones and tablets for their news consumption but there are environments and situations where a printed paper page is more suitable and appropriate.  The developers are not working on interactive paper as an alternative to existing technology but to complement it.

There are many possibilities and scenarios where information is better presented on paper and the practical applications of interactive paper could be appropriate across education, advertising, tourism as well as conventional news.  Subject to how the prototypes have been received at this years London Design Festival we think you can expect to see some very exciting developments…and just as exciting is that all of the development work has been based in Britain.

Visit the Interactive Newsprint site for more info.

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