Did you think that the interactive billboards and talking corn flakes cartons in the film Minority Report were too futuristic? Researchers at the Mid Sweden University have made it reality. Their construction, an interactive paper billboard, emits recorded sound at a user’s touch.

The team envisages that advertisers could use the technology for product packaging. Mikael Gulliksson, who led the research project, told the BBC News Web site: “When you approach the billboard and put your hand on a postcard that shows a picture of a beach, you can hear a very brief description of that beach.” (Excerpt from article at BBC NEWS)

The key technology involved is the use of pressure-sensitive ink sandwiched between thick sheets of paper. The ink is also used to create thin diaphragms over empty spaces for generating sound. Pressure information is relayed to a computer that stores the audio files.

More links :

Digital paper with interactivity and sound (Gizmag)

Swedish scientists announce smart substrate innovation (Printweek.com)

While cost is one factor that will decide the proliferation of the technology, its potential is immense. Pack together a thin little wireless receiver with a flexible OLED, and is it goodbye to newspapers and traditional print media? Join the discussion.