One of the most tired and trite criticisms of e-book readers is that it doesn’t “feel” like a book. These people, supposedly, miss the feeling of having a real book in their hands and shuffling through pages with their fingers. This has always surprised me considering how many people I know who 1) actually read books and 2) have ever talked about how much they like the “feel” of books or 3) have ever used an e-book reader for length of time that it takes to finish a book. I however, have been using an Amazon Kindle for the past two years and while I do concede that sometimes it can be annoying to quickly reference specific pages, my overall experience has been a positive one. You have to use the little thumb stick to scroll through a menu, search through your own highlights, or use the search function to go to a specific page number, but this is a minor inconvenience. The best part of an e-book reader? You – don’t – have – to – carry – an -entire – book. What kind of books are these people even reading? Even the Twilight books are as thick as the people who read them.
Anyway, I imagine you can probably guess how I feel about this next innovation. A research group from Osaka demonstrated the Paranga, a device that “recreates the sensation of turning pages when using an e-book reader” at Interaction 2011.
At the side of the book, there is a rotating scroller which has a number of strips of papers attached and it recreates the sensation whenever you flip through the strips. It’s hard to describe but easily to understand once you’ve seen this video.
Alright, so – apparently, the Paranga is not entirely up to the task yet and is still a work in progress. It can’t accurately detect every single page turn (when you flip through what you think is twenty pages, you may end up a few pages away from that). The Paranga’s creators are expected to add a voltage discharge after every page turn to accurately detect one page at a time. They also hope to make this a device that “could be attached to iPads as an add-on device […]” so that you only have to attach it on when you’re reading a book.
I suppose this sort of justifies the device as long as you can take it off. I mean if you find the prospect of pressing a button to turn a page inauthentic to the reading experience and you don’t mind carrying around a giant bag, then this might be the product for you.