This smart paper or PaperID technology is a fresh, brand new tech product able to connect with the IoT (Internet of Things) environment.
The Disney Research, the Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Washington have united their researching powers to create a way in which to give regular paper technological capabilities by using sensors.
The sensors on the paper respond to gesture and can connect to other digital settings.
The technology works with RFID, a radio frequency tag, drawn, printed or stuck on a piece of paper.
Giving tag sensors a gesture command, the smart paper can then interact with other interfaces than might control music, visuals or even student live tests or polling.
University of Washington doctoral student and lead author of the research, Hanchuan Li, says: “If RFID tags can make interfaces as simple, flexible and cheap as paper, it makes good sense to deploy those tags anywhere.”
What is so exciting about the smart paper or the PaperID technology is that this mechanism uses inexpensive RFID tags that work without a battery and can be detected by a reader device located in the same room.
Individual tags have unique identification (ID) marks which make the antenna able to detect a particular tag amongst infinite other tags.
The price of one such chip is somewhere around 10 cents. Or, alternatively, the antenna can pick markers drawn to paper with conductive ink.
Hand touching, swiping, covering the tag or simply waving in front of the chips create disturbances in the signal. Algorithms can be coded to recognize the patterns of the signal disturbance and classify it as an absolute command.
Tags drawn side by side in a circle or an array on a regular piece of paper can work as sliders or levers while sticker tags work best for on/off commands.
There are many possible uses to give to the smart paper, such as prototyping interactive systems without building the hardware, tracking the speed of moving objects (like a wand used by music conductors), educational and personal use.
The low cost the battery-less wireless technology needed for the smart paper to function makes it a fantastic material to be extended to other usage scenarios.
Image courtesy of Eric Rosenbaum