Looks, feels, smells like a book.
Works like an ebook.
UPDATE: bitbook is no longer being developed.
bitbook was an effort to commercialise what was once an art and design project, originally called BLINK.
If you wish to know more info about the project please contact the original inventor on the above link.
bitbook is an award winning concept and technology for books that aspires to change the way we read and interact with traditional printed books in the digital age. This is achieved by allowing a book reader to access any kind of digital content in the most intuitive way: by simply touching on special ink printed on its pages.
The reader may listen to sounds from the book, see changing colors on printed images or connect wireless to any digital device in proximity such as screens, speakers, home pods, wearables and any other Internet of Things (IoT) device.
Printed text, images and icons link through touch to websites, animations, videos, music as well as updated info providing for a novel, multi-sensory, uniquely immersive experience.
bitbooks look and feel like traditional printed well-crafted books keeping the qualities of paper thanks to the use of conductive ink and other Printed Electronics applications that make the technology almost invisible, intuitive and environmentally sustainable.
Sound bitbooks are suitable for enhancing a book with sounds or music or even to interact via touch with sounds like a synthesizer. Applications for sounds range from children's books and novels to musical/artist concept books.
Sound bitbooks have stored the digital sounds or music on its back cover. The sounds may be emitted either through a speaker on the back, headphones or from the page itself.
Long-term we are also exploring the feasibility to develop bitbooks that have the ability to change it's pages content by using color-changing inks, making it possible to obtain visual besides audio output via the book.
bitbook could functions both as a Sound and Chroma version simultaneously.
How does it work?
The books pages are printed both with normal ink for the “normal” printed content and electrically conductive ink for the printed sensors and interactive elements.
The conductive ink senses the proximity or touch of the finger and acts as a printed button or hyperlink. Other similar interactions, such as hand movements, sliding fingers, page-turning etc. can be designed.
Each sensor/button is smartly connected to a small electronic module embedded in the book’s back cover. The design of bitbook is such that no cables or wires are present to preserve the elegance of the book.
The electronic module (depending on the edition) includes a microprocessor, memory chip, battery, speaker, antenna (WiFi, Bluetooth) and battery, which may be rechargeable via USB in the book’s spine.
A bitbook is either “offline”which means the reader interacts with digital content stored on the book itself (sounds, color changes) or “online” which means it is connected to any wireless device in proximity and the Web and is thereby a physically printed Internet of Things (IoT) object in its own right.
The applications are endless. Get in touch with us to discuss ideas.
Why is it unique?
The printed book is the longest survived medium in history. Books can be found in any household regardless of age, gender, social or ethnic background. There’s no better present to give someone than a book. The physical object itself suggests the content, evokes memories and a sense of ownership that people tend to keep that digital files do not. Printed books are often a work of art itself due to its cover and craftsmanship, typography, beautiful illustrations, the smell of paper and most importantly are a proven superior interface for reading.
bitbooks are easy to use as any regular printed book or a touch interface. Any age or social group is able to use one, hence its total inclusivity as a product. It is arguably more enjoyable to touch paper than plastic and browse through pages than scrolling up/down a screen.
Best of both worlds
bitbook uniqueness is its ability to complete the connection between the digital and printed content in a seamless way (touch) that maintains the benefits of both in one familiar format. The printed book thereby, besides being enhanced with multimedia is also a great interface to access any online or offline digital content information.
Thus bitbooks combine the benefits of both worlds in a format that is familiar , intuitive to use, multi-sensory and interactive.
bitbook is not a kind of book or specific genre. It is technology platform upon which any kind of content can be published. Although childrens books are an obvious choice, other possible editions extend to anything from education and fantasy to luxury limited editions. The continuous development of the technology will allow even further possibilities for bitbooks that will allow for even more features and book genres.
The magic of bitbooks is based on it’s ability to perform its digital actions within a printed medium without noticing the technology involved. That is possible through the use of conductive inks and adoption of ‘Printed Electronics’ technologies which refers to a technique used to develop electronic circuits by printing on flexible substrates (including paper in this case). As those emerging technologies progress, so will bitbooks become even more functional, sustainable and the technology will be come invisible.
The whole premise of bitbook is the replacement of plastic electronic components with paper and ink which are recyclable. Moreover, the process of manufacturing conventional electronics involves environmentally-damaging chemical processes. In contrast, production of Printed Electronics involves conventional printing and deposition of components (such as ink). We are collaborating with our partners in the field of conductive inks, paper and similar technologies in order to use environmentally sustainable materials and processes, so a bitbook can be recyclable like any other printed book.
Books are beautifully crafted and designed products which have been around for centuries, making them the oldest surviving medium today. Books play a significant role in our everyday lives and contribute significantly to our cognitive and emotional development from a very young age. From hand written scrolls to the sewn and glue-bound printed format to electronic editions, books have evolved over the centuries making use of ongoing technological advancements.
Our vision is to bring the printed book to the next stage of evolution and adapt it to the new digital age. We aim at preserving the craftsmanship and art of printed books, while at the same time enhancing them with digital functionalities, creating a truly unique, multi-sensory and immersive experience for every reader.
bitbook aims to bridge the gap between printed books and e-books and to enable printed books to co-exist in the Internet of Things (IoT) world with other devices and media.
To reach our goals we work together with our partners to research and develop sustainable digital applications/ technologies.
We make use of emerging Printed Electronics technologies, such as printing electrically-conductive inks onto paper to form circuits and other electronic components. Thereby, plastic and metal are gradually replaced with more sustainable materials and less environmentally-damaging chemical processes with printing ink on flexible surfaces. bitbook is creatively utilizing those innovations on an existing mass-consumed product. With the assistance of our INNPAPER partners, for instance printed paper-batteries, memory chips, sensors, antennae, speakers and visual elements are on our roadmap.
These technologies will be used for the production/ will contribute to the production of beautifully designed and crafted IoT enabled paperback books and magazines that consist almost exclusively of paper and ink and that ultimately have most of the functionality of e-books - such as changing content of the page itself.
** bitbook is the result of project at the Royal College of Art - then know as Blink. It pioneered the concept of a hybrid analogue-digital book as early as 2006 gaining international recognition and awards for its innovative concept.