The Mobile Art Lab is a Japanese organization that is researching the effects of combining the technology of touchscreen mobile devices with old-fashioned paper bound children’s books, which they’re calling PhoneBook.
As the video below clearly shows, this process doesn’t demonstrate anything new or innovative with technology but rather it utilizes the iPhone hardware’s capabilities in new and different ways. Parents simply access an interactive application on their device and slide it into a book that is fashioned with a hole large enough for the touch screen.
The organization is less focused on the value of the story and much more concerned with the communication effects between the parent and child — making their justification for using iPhones over digital paper technology all the more interesting. The Lab argues that in today’s world, more and more displays have been embedded in magazines and books such as electronic paper, but this is more marketing than practical use since displays using rare metals like LC /organic EL (which I assume are necessary for tactile sensory media*) are not very compatible with the disposable periodicals. The advantage of an iPhone is its versatility. It can be both a necessary business tool and a narrative device without much fuss.
“Now is the ‘one display for one person’ era,” they state in their initial report.
If someone could please notify comic book publishers about this research maybe they’d move beyond the production heavy Motion Comics fad and onto something truly innovative.
*If any tech geeks reading this feel like explaining touch screen hardware in the comments I will be more than happy to update the post and give you credit.