Exploring the medium of sound within print

Paper you can actually hear. .

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Video available from Novalia.co.uk

When I first decided to write my Dissertation on the combination of sound and print I soon realised that the information available was extremely limited, to a point where I nearly changed my topic.  So when I attended an event organised by FESPA last November called Imaging – The Future is Now I think there may have been a very slight tear in my eye when I saw the final presentation by Dr Kate Stone of Novalia Ltd.

Kate demonstrated how the combination of paper and sound could be achieved via the use of printed electronics and conductive inks. The paper wirelessly connects to a device where music or a sound can be played.

One example The Listening Post is an idea where the viewer can listen to a sample of various new bands through the ‘paper app’ by pressing one of the images on the poster.  This project was a collaboration of Scientists, Creative Technologists, Musicians and a record label. 

I managed to catch up with Kate after the event and was pleased to hear that she was as passionate about music as I was and loved the tactility of paper.

Just recently, Kate presented her work on the TED stage in LA where her talk culminated with a live working demonstration of some mixing decks that were printed onto paper.  I only wished I could have been there to see her at this event and watch the viewers faces as she calmly dazzled the audience as she did with me back in November.

You can read about Kate’s recent TED talk on their blog here

I think we will be seeing more of this type of technology over the next few years.  As I have mentioned before, us humans still like to touch and feel the texture of an object or piece of paper, regardless of all the digital devices thrown in our faces.

It’s the opportunities that can arise from this that fascinate me on so many levels.  The combination of a very old printing process combined with the latest technology would make the world an interesting place aesthetically.

Do we really needs hundreds of bright screens flashing in our eyes at the end of every street corner?  ‘Minority Report’ style projections?  Hmm, I’m not so sure.

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