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HP Labs develop ebook prototype


September 15, 2003

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Tuesday September 16, 2003

Conventional computer screens or handheld devices are certain to become obsolete as the electronic information we view increases in complexity and richness. Looking towards this next generation of leaner viewing devices, researchers at HP Labs Bristol have designed and built a Digital Media Viewer prototype to investigate how we will interact with digital information in the (not too distant) future.

The experimental "e-book" uses a light, durable paper-like display that uses minimal energy and could hold an image without being powered.

Page-turning software created in HP Labs Bristol is used to flick through an electronic publication via built-in touch-pads in a similar way to reading a real book.

Eventually, researchers believe that multimedia versions of motion pictures will be able to be downloaded and viewed on such devices in addition to electronic books, newspapers and magazines.

HP have no immediate plans for the research prototype to become a product, but the next phase involving in-house trials of 30 Digital Media Viewers will help determine the shape of these devices as they move towards the consumer marketplace throughout the next decade.

Ed note: Full-colour digital ink technology known as magink is already delivering some of the benefits promised by the next generation of highly-efficient displays in the form of outdoor electronic billboards produced by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation. Gizmo recently spoke with magink CEO Ran Poliakine about the ramifications of this new technology. Read the full story.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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