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E-Book Roundup

January 7, 2011

Electronic paper could bring video to newspapers and magazines.


Paper computer screens. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

In the Harry Potter books, newspapers are magical, with photos that move: celebrities wink and criminals brandish their fists. Research into electronic paper could make that magical scenario reality. In the cover story of the journal Applied Materials and Interfaces, University of Cincinnati Electrical Engineer Andrew Steckl describes inexpensive, high performance e-paper. It looks like regular paper, but acts like a computer screen, showing text, graphics and even videos. It would be flexible enough to roll up and cheap enough to toss out.

In other ebook news, Harvard researchers report in the journal Science that they are using the over five million electronic books now in existence as a kind of “cultural genome” that helps them explore human culture. For instance, they can study how words and phrases emerge in literature over time, and then fade away. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.