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Tag Archives: Books

Concept Shelf Splits With Your Book Collection

By Evan Ackerman

No matter how much of a technophile you are, you’ll be hard-pressed to replace any of your books with a gadget. ::Cough:: And books, you know, just kinda pile up. In piles. Which is why some enterprising souls invented first the bookcase, and then the expandable bookcase, and finally this splittable bookcase, which lets you stuff an infinite amount of books into a finite (but expandable) amount of shelf.

It’s really rather brilliant. Since you try and cram everything ever written into the one single bookcase you own anyway, you might as well get once like this, which actually expands to accommodate it. There’s a hinge at the bottom, a split up the middle, and expander thingies hidden inside the hollow shelves. I imagine eventually the shelves will get completely horizontal, and instead of bookshelves you’ll have a book arc, at which point you can color coordinate your entire collection and have a book rainbow. And won’t that be special.

Currently this bookshelf is just a concept, but I bet you could hammer together something comparable if you put your mind to it.

VIA [ Design Blog ]

Metaio’s Augmented Reality Books

Metaio's Augmented Reality (AR) Technology (Image courtesy Wired Gadget Lab)
By Andrew Liszewski

Here’s a 21st century take on those pop-up books that fascinated us as kids. Instead of using intricately designed and engineered origami contraptions to make a 3D world pop out of a book as you turn the pages, a company called Metaio uses a run-of-the-mill webcam (I’m sure it has a minimum resolution requirement) and a custom piece of camera recognition software to make a 3D world appear on your computer’s screen. The company’s Augmented Reality technology was recently shown off at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany with an upcoming interactive 3D book called Aliens & UFOs which superimposes planets and alien spacecraft on the page when the book is held up to the webcam.

Metaio's Augmented Reality (AR) Technology (Image courtesy Wired Gadget Lab)

What’s particularly neat about Metaio’s Augmented Reality technology is that it doesn’t require any special tracking markers to appear on the page. Instead, the exact dimensions and layout of the page is what the software uses to track its position in 3D space and perfectly superimpose the objects in real-time. So in other words, the book’s layout has to be 100% complete before the software portion can be written. But imagine how cool it would be to get an Augmented Reality IKEA catalog in the mail that allows you to see a 3D layout of the room and furniture on your PC?

[ Metaio ] VIA [ Wired Gadget Lab ]

Arthur C. Clarke’s Last Work – The Last Theorem

The Last Theorem (Image courtesy By Andrew Liszewski

While fans of Arthur C. Clarke are still mourning his passing (myself included) his last book appropriately titled The Last Theorem will be published on August 1. Co-written by Frederik Pohl, at least part of the novel deals with the logistics and challenges behind staging the first lunar Olympics. (An idea that’s come up in previous Clarke books like ‘The Hammer Of God.’) Since Arthur C. Clarke often wrote about the practicalities of living and traveling in space (rather than just “wild fantasy”) tackling something as unique as a lunar Olympics seems like a fitting last work for the author.

And if you don’t think you can wait a couple of more days for the book to be released (Amazon has it listed as being available on August 5 for $17.82) the Telegraph has published an excerpt from the novel which you can read here.

[ The Last Theorem ] VIA [ Slashdot ]

How To Traumatize Your Children Book

How To Traumatize Your Children (Image courtesy Perpetual Kid)
By Andrew Liszewski

There are countless books that will supposedly teach you how to properly raise your kids, but only one that takes the opposite approach. How To Traumatize Your Children is part of the ‘Self-Hurt Series’ of books and includes chapters that cover everything from narcissistic parenting to being your child’s best friend to the convenience of neglect and even how to enjoy the legacy of trauma you’ve carefully crafted. Because let’s be serious, what’s the point of putting all the time and effort into traumatizing your kids if you don’t end up becoming pseudo-famous thanks to a tell-all book or movie-of-the-week 30 years later?

At 192 pages with full color illustrations the book should provide more than enough guidance to keep your son or daughter living in your basement well into their 40′s. You can get it from Perpetual Kid for just $10.

[ How To Traumatize Your Children ]

Dixau Text Scanner Wikifies and Googlizes Your Reading


By Evan Ackerman

Reading is such hard work without the internet at your disposal to cross reference anything that you don’t immediately understand. Until now, people had to read books while at the computer if they wanted to look stuff up, manually typing it in to Wikipedia or Google. It’s horrible, I know. The Dixau text scanner from Korean company Unichal makes is so that you only have to be next to the computer. It contains a little camera that is able to take pictures of text, recognize the characters, and then provide on-screen explanations via search engines.

The Dixau may seem totally superfluous (especially for $90), but what I think it’s designed for are Korean students who want to be able to translate words from English scientific texts on the fly. And with that in mind, it really could be useful even for native English speakers trying to decipher English scientific texts. I mean, I majored in geology, which is perhaps not the most technical of disciplines, and I still swear that half of those words were made up just to confuse people.

[ Dixau (In Korean) ] VIA [ TechPin ]

A Rainbow In The Palm Of Your Hand


By Evan Ackerman

Nothing too gadgety about this, I’ll admit, but it’s a neat little effect… Flip the pages of this book, and a rainbow will appear above it. Each of the 36 pages has an image of the spectrum on a black background which creates the illusion. Looks like it was just an art project, but you can make your own in 10 minutes with an inkjet and some staples. Vid after the jump.Continue Reading

MARK Makes Nighttime Reading Easier Than Ever


By Luke Anderson

One of my favorite things to do before going to sleep is read a book. I’ve found that I generally sleep better after about 20 minutes or so of reading. Unfortunately, my wife doesn’t take kindly to the bedside lamp staying on while she’s trying to sleep. That’s why I love this MARK bookmark, which promises to make the pages of a book readable without the need for an excess of light.

The MARK creates a unique glowing effect over the page of a book by combining a small sheet of plastic and embedded FOLEDs. These tiny lights use hardly any power, and their brightness can be easily adjusted. The only downside to this product is that it is still a concept design. I can only hope that something similar to this is actually released sometime in the near future.

[ Yanko Design ]

How To Fly A Plane Book Could Be A Lifesaver

How To Fly A Plane (Image courtesy Thames & Hudson)
By Andrew Liszewski

While the numbers clearly indicate that flying is one of the safest ways to travel there’s always that worry in the back of your mind about what could go wrong. Those who are particularly concerned about something happening to the pilot might find some peace of mind by reading this book.

While How To Fly A Plane is not written as a complete and thorough manual on how to pilot an aircraft it does provide a solid introduction to everything from take-off to the far more important landing. It doesn’t rely on technical jargon either but uses layman’s terms so that anyone can easily grasp the concepts. A ‘First Flights’ section even takes you inside the cockpits of various planes including gliders, single engined aircraft and a Learjet which is great if you’ve ever wondered what all those gauges and displays are really for.

How To Fly A Plane is published in the UK by Thames & Hudson and can be found on for about $30.

[ How To Fly A Plane ] VIA [ Cool Hunting ]