Physical books and new technology are often placed in contrast to each other but – as we have seen with projects such as Between Page and Screen – they can actually exist in harmony. Adding weight to this point, the Elektrobiblioteka, or Electrobook, contains sensors between its pages that generate extra, dynamic content for readers when the book is plugged into a computer.
The book was created by Waldek Wegrzyn as part of his diploma thesis at the Akademii Sztuk Pięknych in Katowice, Poland. It uses flexible circuits and sensors printed onto paper and hidden below the content in order to tell relevant software what page the reader is on and what they are doing with the book. The book features a USB input which, when connected to a computer, allows the user to browse a companion website also designed by Wegrzyn. The site provides extra content related to the information on the page in front of the reader. Certain parts of the book can also be pressed to bring up new information on screen. The video below shows the development process involved in the project and demonstrates the book in action:
The device acts both as a book in its own right and also as a controller for the digital content. With much talk about the death of the physical-format book, the Elektrobiblioteka provides publishing houses with a halfway house between a tangible product and interactive digital content. Currently a prototype, could this idea be developed and commercialized?