A-books rather than e-books? Augmented reality could soon bring printed books back to life

Augmented reality could play a major role in the return of printed books, according to new research.

Researchers from the University of Surrey in the UK have unveiled the third generation (3G) version of their Next Generation Paper (NGP) project which allows readers to consume information on printed paper and screen side by side.

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“The way we consume literature has changed over time with so many more options than just paper books. Several electronic solutions currently exist, including e-readers and smart devices, but no sustainable hybrid solution at scale. business,” Dr. Radu Sporea, senior lecturer at the Advanced Technology Institute, said in a press release.

He added that augmented reality books, or “a-books”, could be the future of many book genres, saying such technology exists to “help the reader deepen their understanding of a written subject and to get more by digital means without ruining the experience”. to read a paper book.

With no visible wiring, users can trigger digital content through these a-books with a simple gesture like swiping a finger or turning a page, which will then prompt for information to be displayed on a nearby device.

Augmented reality is an enhanced version of the real physical world that can be achieved using digital visuals, sound, or other sensory stimuli through technology. Unlike virtual reality, augmented reality uses a real-world setting, allowing users to control their presence in the real world and enhance both the virtual and physical world.

“Original research was conducted to enrich travel experiences by creating augmented travel guides. This improved 3G model offers the possibility of using augmented books for different fields such as education,” said postdoctoral researcher George Bairaktaris.

“In addition, the new model disturbs the reader less by automatically recognizing the opened page and triggering multimedia content.”

The a-book is a hybrid electronic device that provides users with access to up-to-date information and relevant multimedia content through ordinary interaction with a typical paper book. It retains the look and feel of a classic printed book and is simultaneously connected to the internet via a companion smart device.

These augmented reality books can be manufactured on a semi-industrial scale thanks to new features like pre-printed conductive paper and energy efficiency.

“What started as an augmented book project evolved into scalable user interfaces. The techniques and insights from the project led us to explore organic materials and printing techniques to fabricate scalable sensors for interfaces at the beyond the e-book,” he added.

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