August 8, 2022, 1:28pm

We are officially living in the future. Our marker for this is the fact that George Jetson was apparently born in July of 2022, so I’d just like to know: where is my robot maid? I thought that by now, we’d all be riding hoverboards. What are our innovators hard at work on instead?

Introducing: the a-book! The “a,” of course, stands for augmented reality. The big idea behind it is that, much like when you’re using an e-reader, you might now be able to swipe your finger across a line in a real book and have explainers/background information pop up on your phone. If you’re reading a series, and you’ve completely forgotten what’s just happened, the backstory of a character is quite literally now at your fingertips. You know, in case you’re too lazy to Google it or simply use context clues.

The hope behind this £900,000 government-funded project is that they are able to preserve what they’re calling “bookness,” by which I suppose they mean the feel of holding paper in your hands and turning a page. So, how does the augmented reality book work? The researchers at the University of Surrey are creating super-thin solar panels (?) to fit in between a single sheet of paper (??). The solar panels will be activated when a “magic bookmark”(???) is laid across the page.

Thanks, science, for solving a problem we didn’t really have! In case the makers of the a-book haven’t heard, books are magic all on their own.

[h/t The Guardian]

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