A university research project has publicly tested a new form of technology that they’re calling “interactive newsprint”.
Academic partners from UCLan, Dundee and Surrey delivered a workshop last Saturday with volunteers and members of the community journalism team at Prescap.
Interactive paper is responsive to human touch – the images or text printed on it can change, or play a sound once a certain area on the surface is pressed, turning sheets of paper into interactive displays.
There were three types of paper on display at the workshop – a music poster, a classified adverts poster and a more traditional looking newspaper front page.
Paul Egglestone, UCLan lecturer and project leader of the Interactive Newsprint Research Team, said: “We’re exploring the idea of connecting ordinary print, paper-based material, to the internet so that you can stream content to and from the paper, and hear sounds coming out of it.
“We’re experimenting with how people want to interact with it, and how they’d like to see it presented.
“The really exciting thing for me is that we’ve got this quite expensive and hugely advanced piece of technology.
“Instead of keeping it our lab, refining it, honing it ourselves and then trying to sell it to people, what we wanted to do right at the beginning is involve the community to help us shape what they might want to do with it.
“I think it’ll have a role in community news and information in the future.”
The team hope to develop the paper in conjunction with feedback from the public as to how they’d like to see it used.
Workshop attendees said that they were most likely to use this technology on public posters displayed around town, advertising concerts or restaurants.
Alternatively, the team suggested the idea of a home notice board that contained an active newspaper to which community members could broadcast and receive short news updates through either text or voicemail messages.
I filmed a short interview with project leader Paul Egglestone, you can take a look at it below.