The TouchBook

September 5th, 2006 by Hugh

Jason Barkeloo, president of Somatic Digital, has a vision that is strikingly close to Exbiblio’s. He concludes a recent post for the AlwaysOn community site saying:

I think the great step forward will be clipping the printed page to a device that will enable the print to become the navigation portal to the digital world…

And it’s more than a just a nice idea. Somatic already has its own “device” to hand: the TouchBook.

The TouchBook™ platform, through the use of Touch User Interface (TUI) technology, enables a reader to press the pictures and words on the regular printed ink and paper page and retrieve digital content from an appliance. This technology, in essence, turns the printed material into a remote control to digital content.

You will find more detail in the PDF brochure. but I think the concept is demonstrated most clearly in this short video of seven-year-old Tommy using a TouchBook. He presses an icon in his book, and a song plays on his laptop.

Just to remind readers – I’m an outside blogger and am not involved in developing Exbiblio’s products – and so I would be fascinated to find out what the Exbiblio team makes of the TouchBook. It would also be great to hear what Jason Barkeloo makes of Exbiblio’s approach to bridging the divide between paper and the digital world.

2 Responses to “The TouchBook”

  1. Myself Says:

    Isn’t this what :D igitalConvergence was doing with their spectacular failure, the :CueCat? People just weren’t enthused by the idea of using dead-tree to make their computer do something.

    High-density 2d barcodes made sense in the Datastrip era, where slipping a magazine into a reader was better than typing in a program listing. But since the advent of the internet, I don’t see a compelling reason to put data on paper.

  2. Adam Says:

    The TouchBook technology is interesting. It reminds me of the LeapPad by LeapFrog. I didn’t see where to buy one, or how to purchase documents that work with it. I certainly resonate with Jeff’s post from AlwaysOn as well as The Myth of the Paperless Office. I’ll reserve my opinion of the TouchBook until I get my hands on one for a few weeks.

    A major distinction of Exbiblio is that we are designing products that do not require specialized content such as bar codes, icons, special paper, or even prepared content. Our dream for an integrated world is one in which you can interact quickly and easily with any paper document in your life whether it be a flier on a campus bulletin board, or a resume you are reviewing, or a book of sonnets.

    It is my own opinion that most of the existing technologies can be useful for specific niche audiences, but that widespread adoption of paper to digital technologies requires at least two things: 1) a highly portable device and 2) integration with all content, not just approved or prepared documents.