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Printed Electronics World
Posted on June 26, 2007 by  & 

Digital Paper That Talks to You

Researchers from Mid Sweden University have constructed an interactive paper billboard that emits recorded sound in response to a user's touch.
The large prototype boards and store displays talk to you directly, using digital information embedded in the paper. When a user touches the paper, the conductive inks send information to a tiny computer that has the recorded files which are then streamed from the paper speakers.
The team envisages that the technology could be used for advertising campaigns, marketing and events, product displays in stores, and in the future it might even be employed for product packaging for example in self instructive packages that when touched tell you its content and prescription.
Mikael Gulliksson, who led the research project says "We combine paper with printed graphic codes and electronically conductive ink that is engineered to be sensitive to pressure. Then digital information is embedded in the paper, and when it is touched, the information comes out via printed speakers."
A large display board is already in use to show how the marketing of new travel destinations, for instance, can be carried out by having the recipient enter the advertising world. When the person touches a picture or text, he or she hears the audiovisual advertising message. This advertising invites people to enter into and interact with the message.
The same technology has been used in a prototype for a 'music display board.' On this slightly bowed board, a number of music albums are printed directly on paper. Just as with a regular sound system, you can sample music by touching the front of the album. The sound is then streamed right out of the paper. The board can easily be replaced as soon as there are new recordings to be marketed. This new display technology is inexpensive, combining images, sound, and space in a new and environmentally friendly way. After use, the displays can be tossed into the recycle bin.
The three research teams in the project include scientists from materials physics, media and communication science, and electronics. Paper Four is a research project that collaborates with the paper industry in the mid-Sweden region. The aim is to develop an entirely new paper-based product platform for marketing products and services.
View a video of a large display board at
Source Top Image: Mid Sweden University
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