As the electronic age continues to consign printed media to the wastepaper basket of history, scientists in Sweden have come up with a novel way of combining for the analog and digital worlds. Talking paper is the brainchild of researchers at Mid Sweden University that makes use of conductive inks and printed speakers to turn billboards--and potentially product packaging--into standalone audio sources.
The technology relies on a layer of digital paper embedded with microelectronic components, which respond to touch to play a prerecorded message. The most obvious application for the technology is in the commercial billboard and posters, but the leader of the project suggests that it could eventually be used in consumer goods--for example, to read out warnings on cigarette packages. Whatever next? Birthday cards that play music?