We have had e-books for a while now and maybe it’s time to get started with something called a-books. No, it’s not short for audiobooks but it stands for augmented reality books. As The Guardian stated, the a-book has the looks and the feel of a real book, and you will also be turning real paper pages. However, the pages will have magic elements embedded in it that will let you have access to more information or other background stuff that a particular portion of the book might lead to.
Being developed at the University of Surrey, the magic elements mentioned above are in reality ultra-thin solar panels that are embedded within the paper itself. Then there are magic bookmarks introduced as well which when swiped activate the solar panels and enable the book to reveal the background information pertaining to that portion of the book’s text. The information is going to be shown on compatible devices such as a smartphone, tablets, laptops, and so on. However, that should require some amount of computation and it is not known how that is accomplished. Whether there is a processor and associated tech bits embedded within the hardcover of the book remains unknown at this point.
As the team behind the a-book claims, such technology can be handy for educational books or travel guides where a mere swipe across the magic bookmark on a page can open up a wealth of information on an external computing device. That said, it can be adapted to just about any book where the content is linked to some other information stored elsewhere. For instance, swiping the name of a historical character can open up more information that can help the reader have more complete information on the subject. If it is a fictional series and you need a refresher on past incidents, the magic bookmark can be of help too.
Such a feature is already available on e-readers or even tablets via suitable apps but is going to be a first on a physical book. However, the key challenge here is to ensure the solar panel embedded paper pages are thin enough to mimic the pages we are used to in printed books so far. Anything thicker than that would mar the experience.
The a-book happens to be a government backed project with £900,000 already pumped into it. The researchers are pinning their hopes on the corporate sector as well as the publishers to take their project to the next level. Meanwhile, a demo version of the a-book named the Climate Domesday Book will be up for exhibition in the UK and Australia by the end of the year, one that will allow for audio and video playback on a screen nearby. It is going to be mighty interesting to see how things work out on this front.
With a keen interest in tech, I make it a point to keep myself updated on the latest developments in the world of technology and gadgets. That includes smartphones or tablet devices but stretches to even AI and self-driven automobiles as well, the latter being my latest fad. Besides writing, I like watching videos, reading, listening to music, or experimenting with different recipes. Motion picture is another aspect that interests me a lot and maybe I’ll make a film sometime in the future.