Creating 'the Last Book' To Hold All the Others

Jay Thomas (
Thu, 09 Apr 1998 14:23:40 -0400

Okay, so it's got this nifty book metaphor going, for all those
neo-luddites who can't bring themselves to buy a laptop, but don't we
currently have this technology? Are they re-inventing the wheel? I
have a CD-ROM with the greatest works of literature, in my laptop,
with several batteries; does the same thing for me. Or am I missing
something here? Granted, it's a great concept, but where is it really
apllicable? Will a consumer, especially one who owns a home PC and has
another at work, purchase this? Personally, I'd love to see them color
the spheres and apply this to designing better flat panel displays.

Nev Dull wrote:
> Forwarded-by: Kevin Taglang <kevint@BENTON.ORG>
> Title: Creating 'the Last Book' To Hold All the Others
> Source: New York Times (B1,B2)
> <>
> Author: Christopher Lehmann-Haupt
> Issue: Publishing/InfoTechnology
> Description: Joseph Jacobsen, an assistant professor at the Massachusetts
> Institute of Technology, is developing something called electronic ink,
> or e-ink in the MIT Media Laboratory, which can be applied to the page
> of a book from within instead of by a press. With the backing of Things
> That Think and News in the Future, two business consortia of around 75
> companies, this e-ink "consists of microscopic spheres, each about 40
> microns in diameter, or about half the thickness of a piece of paper. Each
> sphere is half black and half white. These spheres can be applied by the
> millions to paper and then flipped over electronically to either their
> black sides or their white sides to produce what looks like a
> traditionally printed page. As envisioned at the Media Lab, the book
> pages will each have fine wires carrying electricity to flip the dots in
> the direction of a computer concealed in the book binding. The user will
> scroll through a list of book titles displayed on the book's spine. If
> the user selects "Ulysses," the computer will make the text appear on the
> book's pages by flipping the appropriate spheres to their black or white
> sides. As the capacity of the book's memory grows, whole libraries may be
> installed." A user might be able to assemble a particular group of books
> to fit a specific need, illustrations may be animated or it may become
> possible to receive broadcasts that typecast themselves to create an
> instant newspaper. Jacobson even foresees being able to store the more
> that 17 million volumes of the entire Library of Congress. Yet unlike a
> computer, you would be able to unplug the book and take it with you
> anywhere, the display would be designed to sense the presence of a pen or
> stylus so you can mark or write on the pages, and you may even be able to
> "dogear" the book. How soon will this book be available? "A prototype with
> just a few pages could be put together in two or three years, with one of
> 400 pages taking a year or two longer," Jacobson said.
> *********
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Jay Thomas		(w)617-576-4832		ICQ:5270335
Network Manager		(b)617-546-2444		AIM:jpthomas68
I think so, Brain, but how will we get a pair of Abe Vigoda's pants?