The Next Generation Paper Project

David Frohlich, Director of Digital World Research Centre

David Frohlich

The Next Generation Paper (NGP) project is attempting to define two new generations of paper with interactive links to digital information and the web. This leads to a paper-and-screen reading experience with augmented books (‘a-books’), rather than reading either printed (p-books) or electronic books (e-books).  Second generation (2G) paper uses AR technology to recognise the page of a book or document in order to present links on a nearby smartphone. Third generation (3G) paper uses IOT technology involving embedded electronics in the paper itself to wirelessly signal manual actions to a nearby smartphone.

In practice we have been creating augmented travel guides with printed hotlinks to extra photographs of travel destinations, video walks through the landscape, interviews with local characters and quick access to maps, timetables, phone numbers and websites of relevance to each region. We have also been exploring how travellers themselves can personalise these guidebooks with their own media content, and make augmented photobooks of their travels using an NGP Authoring app. A commercial guide to Cornwall has been released by our partner Bradt Travel Guides with links that can be read on the project’s Android NGP Player app, and project demos have been shown in a travelling exhibition in the Netherlands called ‘Paper Magic’ showcasing the latest innovations in paper development. As the project comes to a close we are preparing to host a Webinar on the findings and seeking funding to commercialise the technology. You can sign up for the Webinar here.

The project is relevant to the Technology and Society research theme because it involves understanding everyday reading and travel practices, and trying to transform them through the design of new technology.

David Frohlich, Digital World Research Centre