Wednesday, June 6, 2007

"Talking" paper invented

[visual description: A billboard is shown that is approximately three times the height of a chair in front of it .]

Digital paper that can speak has been invented by scientists.

"Researchers from Mid Sweden University have constructed an interactive paper billboard that emits recorded sound in response to a user's touch.
The prototype display uses conductive inks, which are sensitive to pressure, and printed speakers.
The team envisages that the technology could be used by advertisers, and in the future, it might even be employed for product packaging."

Although this BBC article makes no mention of its use as an assistive technology device, I found this exciting. (They think it would be great on cigarette packaging, but I think of my Ski for Light and blind friends and have all kinds of other ideas.) The example shown is for advertising - the way it works is that you touch the screen (like a board/kiosk) and then a voice streams out (digital file).

Hopefully this break through could be extended toward other ideas - classroom applications, handouts, smaller sheets of "paper", menus, displays in train/bus stations to make people more independent, maps in malls, etc. Very exciting how much independence this could provide through this technology.

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