By Andrew Liszewski
One of the biggest appeals of using an e-ink based ebook reader, instead of an LCD-equipped device like a laptop or even the iPad for reading, is the fact that their monochrome displays more closely mimic reading an actual book. And that feature alone is what made the ebook market explode over the past few years. But why stop at just the display when it comes to mimicking the book experience we’ve known and loved for hundreds of years?
Marcin Szewczyk’s glBook software and plasticPage hardware provide a tactile interface for flipping through pages in a virtual book. Created while at university, the plasticPage device resembles paper sheets, but is actually made from flexible pieces of plastic that are stacked like pages in a book. Each ‘page’ is also a bit longer than the one above, allowing the user to accurately flip through a given number of pages while they see the results happen in real-time in the custom OpenGL-powered glBook software.
While the interface isn’t quite ready for ‘primetime’ as they say, Marcin is working to make the prototype device a bit more assembly line and consumer friendly, including making it wireless and improving the optical sensor currently being used.