Notes from the Lab

The Book of The Future


For those who are digital and love to read, there's always a trade-off:
thousands of online resources available at the stroke of a key, versus
the ease and readability of a traditional book. But in the not-too-
distant future, we may have the advantages of both. Dr. Joseph Jacobson,
a researcher in the Media Laboratory's Physics and Media group, is
developing a technology for digital paper, which may be used to create
the world's first one-volume library. A book that was Moby Dick one day
could become The Illiad the next. The technology that makes this
feasible is an electronic "ink" made up of tiny particles that are black
on one side and white on the other. These particles flip over, depending
on the electronic charge underneath them, making patterns that look like
traditional type. A computer in the electronic book's spine would
program these particles to "set" the desired text, which would remain
stable until reprogrammed. According to Jacobson, the electronic book
will have the weight and feel of a traditional book of a few hundred
pages. If it's a lengthy work, you'll read the first section and reload
later portions as you progress. Jacobson thinks a prototype is a few
years away. The work is funded by Gruppo Grauso and the Things That
Think Consortium. (Source: Frames)


Topics: Media Lab

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