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Written on June 6, 2007, and categorized as Secret and Invisible.
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Swedish scientists have made talking paper, it says here.

The paper has embedded electronics, uses conductive inks to respond to hand pressure to trigger the sounds, and works using printed speakers “which are formed from more layers of conductive inks that sit over an empty cavity to form a diaphragm.”

This idea is frankly marvellous, if slightly dangerous, but it certainly opens up future possibilities. The idea that you can print speakers delights me. The hugely boring applications that the scientists describe show no imagination – shop displays, tourism, cigarette packaging. How about posters which respond with taunting as someone applies the classic glasses and beard motif to the supermodel? Or perhaps, MacDonalds packaging that says to you once you’ve saturated your arteries with their insane, anti-ecological food-subsitute, “Now Wash Your Conscience”? Or a newspaper which rewards the reader with verbal reassurances, “Every word in this article is completely and utterly true!”

The problem with blogging has always been that you can’t put a blog in your pocket and read it on the train. There are e-books, of course, but e-books require a clunky, expensive reader. I spent last night getting to grips with Audible. How can a “market leader” in the field of audio technology be so old hat? These are not books, they are just insanely-priced, DRM-laden audio downloads, and you have to double-check both the quality and the restrictions on your purchase, as the likelihood is that buying the CD will not only be cheaper and give better fidelity, but will unlike your download, will play anywhere.

There are many talking magazines, of course, particularly online e-zines, the most recent of which is the highly derivative Blogger and Podcaster magazine. I read issue #2 a few days ago. Containing adverts which spoke to me, I quickly became irritated with trying to process two verbal messages at once – one via eyes, the other via ears – and hit the mute button on my laptop about three seconds after working out WTF was happening.

We are already indundated with excess audio in the city, noise pollution by public address, subjected to constant unnecessary reminders on the Tube to “touch in and out” “take care of your personal possessions” and “not resemble a terrorist”. I just hope that whoever prints the first audio paper publication also includes an “off” button.

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