Pop-up paper books

Print Hi-Tech: December

Printing, digital, and marketing convergence

Interesting news and case studies involving printing and digital technologies covered in my regular ‘Hi-Tech’ category.

Today: subtle pop-up worlds of Katsumi Komagata; VR experience out of a pizza box; 3D printed latte; DROTR Calls&Chat app with automatic translation support.

Subtle pop-up worlds made of paper

Katsumi Komagata, a book artist from Japan, started as a graphic designer developing packaging. Now he is best known for his innovative pop-up books. He has won numerous honours, including the Prize for Creativity (Paris), a New Art Prize at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, an International Children’s Book Award (Switzerland).

In 2008, Komagata released Little Tree, an existential story tracing the life-cycle of a single tree told in Japanese, French, and English. A beautiful allegory, it ends with a seed that spurs a new cycle of life, sending it all back to the beginning.

Simple as they are, the pop-up paper books by Katsumi Komagata are colorful and full of life. He has also created picture books for children with disabilities, including tactile and sign-language books.

Subtle pop-up worlds made of paper

Virtual hi-tech… with cardboard

When Google announced a DIY virtual reality kit made of cardboard last summer, people asked if it was a joke. Offered as part of Google’s annual giveaway, the device was a low-cost crowdsourced toolkit anyone could build to run basic VR experiences.

Actually, it’s a housing for a smartphone made from cardboard. You also get a lens kit, magnets, velcros, a rubber band, and an easily programmable sticker tag for automatic launch of the mobile app. A low-key yet completely usable headset is good enough for a revelatory VR experience. You can even cut your own cardboard housing out of a pizza box.

Advertisers are paying close attention to the prospects for Google Cardboard. In November 2015, The New York Times made a step into virtual reality with Google Cardboard virtual reality viewer. The Times used a promotion to deliver 1.2 million kits to home-delivery subscribers for watching “The Displaced,” its first film in a virtual-reality series telling about three refugee children growing up in Lebanon, South Sudan, and Ukraine.

Google Cardboard for NYT

Taking latte art to a whole new level

Innovations in 3D technologies are going to change our lives in a number of ways. But waiting for your life to change, you can still enjoy your coffee! Would you like it 3D printed?

In just seconds, the Ripple Maker transfers any image or text from a digital library on the coffee foam. A small (21 х 27 х 50 cm) Wi-Fi connected device supports customized designs as well which makes it an innovative promotion tool. Moreover, the device remembers birthdays and anniversaries.

“We are excited to unveil the Ripple Maker and proud to announce Lufthansa as our first global brand,” said Yossi Meshulam, CEO of Steam CC, parent of Ripples. “Our mission is to add meaning, depth and joy to the coffee experience, cup by cup.  And this aligns so beautifully with Lufthansa’s commitment to ‘Nonstop You’.”

Bonus: Made in Ukraine

DROTR Calls&Chat is a new VoIP technology service announced a couple of years ago as Droid Translator. The app was developed by Ukrainian software engineer Oleksandr Konovalov. Unlike Skype and Viber, it can automatically translate voice and text messages into 30 languages.

The new service includes a built-in video call with interpretation, a voice call with interpretation and a chat with translation. According to Konovalov, live interpretation of each phrase in Skype may take up to 45 seconds. As of today, the service is available for Android devices. The iOS version is currently being tested by Apple.

The basic application is free to download. The full version supports conversation recording and stores transcripts into a separate file.

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