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British research project develops an interactive paper

Photo: Interactive Newsprint
Photo: Interactive Newsprint
Photo:Interactive Newsprint
Photo:Interactive Newsprint
Published by
Simon Matthis - 01 Oct 2012

A British research project called Interactive newsprint believes it has the answer to what the future holds for the newspaper.

Interactive Newsprint is a collaborative effort between Dundee, Surrey and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), that aims to integrate the rich media of the web into traditional news print, thanks to an innovative new form of internet connected paper. Working with technology company Novalia and funded by the Digital Economy (DE) Programme, the three universities are researching and developing printed electronics that work in conjunction with ordinary paper to add capacitive touch functionality to the printed page.

The technology isn’t limited to newspaper, it can be applied to leaflets and advertising signage. The Interactive Newsprint team has already developed a number of prototypes that can access audio content and social media services by touching specific interactive areas of the paper.

What’s more, the paper is able to download additional content from the web, like the updated content.

The latest developments of printed electronics now allow various digital devices and interfaces to be built into paper documents, including audio storage, speakers, microphones, buttons, sliders, led displays, colour changing fibres, led text displays and mobile communication. While there are many possible configurations and uses of this technology for supporting new forms of reading and writing, the aim of Interactive Newsprint is to explore those relating to the communication of local news. Existing forms of local journalism and content will be used to develop a range of interactive paper documents and test them out in both a lab and field setting.  

Printed and Plastic Electronics is an emerging technology that has very recently reached a point of application to the news industry.