Disney has in store for us a new way of interacting with children’s books. We might be able to generate electric current in the future, simply by rubbing, tapping or sliding sheets of paper-like material.
Images found in children’s books have the role of stimulating the imagination of the young crowd. But what if the pictures could be somehow enhanced? Rockets and stars would look much more lifelike if they emitted light, for example. With that in mind, Disney Research developed paper generators that bring stories to life with the help of electric current. No, it’s not necessary to plug your kid’s book to a power outlet to make it shine. All you have to do is
Ivan Poupyrev, director of Disney Research, Pittsburgh’s Interaction Group, stated: “Though the fundamental principles of operation remain the same, it’s possible to build Paper Generators that respond to a number of different gestures, such as tapping, touching, rubbing or sliding. We can imagine any number of ways to use this to add sights, sounds and other interactivity to books and other printed materials inexpensively and without having to worry about power sources.”
The team of researchers who developed the Paper Generators included Mustafa Emre Karagozler and Yuri Suzuki of Disney Research, Pittsburgh and Gary Fedder of Carnegie Mellon’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Robotics Institute. After demonstrating how these generators work by lighting up a cartoon of a rocket ship with LEDs, Karagozler pointed out that “There’s nothing here that I can’t build by hand in five minutes. That’s the future of this technology.” In addition, he stated that putting together such Paper Generators is not at all difficult: “It’s very simple, it’s flexible and it’s printable using conventional printers. It’s a technology with potential applications we’ve only begun to explore.”
Disney Research went in a lot of different directions in the past year. Besides an animatronic robot that plays catch and a Kinect sensor with tactile feedback, the company seems to also be interested in making children’s books better. I’m actually very curious about what other things Disney is planning to change, as all these things are not only interesting, but also useful. Needless to say, they could create other concepts based on the current projects.
Additional information about this project is available on the Paper Generators page on the Disney Research website.
If you liked this post, please check the Disney Research animatronic robot that plays catch and juggles, and the Disney Aireal concept that enhances Kinect with tactile feedback.