Print Hi-Tech: September
Printing, digital, and marketing convergence
Interesting news and case studies involving printing and digital technologies covered in my regular ‘Hi-Tech’ category.
Today: ‘The Drinkable Book’ that purifies water; a beer bottle turned into interactive canvas; 3D food printing for luxury dining; the first Ukrainian croud-publishing platform.
The Drinkable Book
Thousands of people still don’t have access to safe, clean water to drink. Finally, scientists have developed a special paper for water purification, which they hope will help people to solve this problem.
The pages of ‘The Drinkable Book‘ can be used to filter out the dirt from water. Each page contains special ingredients—silver and copper—to remove the germs that could make people unwell. To use the book, you need only to place the page inside a simple filter holder and then pour the dirty water into it. Tips printed on each page educate people about importance of drinking safe water.
The book’s been tried out in Africa and in Bangladesh, and people are really pleased with the results. Each sheet can be used up to 100 times. One book will do for a person’s water supply for up to four years.
Scratchbottle: Instant customer engagement
The German beer brand Beck’s developed an interactive packaging. The company turned the bottle into a canvas in its latest advertising campaign to make its product more appealing to a younger, party loving audience.
For now, the scratch bottle remains a “dummy” for internal purposes. According to Beck’s, there are no plans to mass produce the scratch bottle. Still the packaging is intriguing because it creates instant customer engagement with the product. Humour, another key to successful marketing, is also present.
The campaign doesn’t imply cultural context, since Beck’s beer is sold in 90 countries. And it may be one of the reasons behind strong social media buzz it created.
3D Printing: Is it viable for fine dining?
Forbes published a 4-part series examining how the future of luxury dining would be affected by 3D printing making its first strides into the food industry. At the 3D Printshow 2015 in London, Michelin-starred Chef Mateo Blanch from La Boscana, Spain creating the first 3D printed, 5-course meal attracting many attendees.
The menu included a starter snack of caviar cookies with lemon and strawberries, hummus and a dish of guacamole. The main course was a Framed octopus and a Caprese pasta with basilicum and pestofolowed by a strawberry and jelly carpaccio, and a dessert featuring the word “London” printed in chocolate. According to Blanch, the technology has made him “capable of a level of precision that would have never been possible before.”
Still, there are few other reports on Michelin-starred chefs adopting the technology. The reason 3D food printing is particularly challenging is that you often have to mix more than one material to create a conceivably good dish. But today it is relatively difficult. What’s more, 3D food printers are generally expensive. The better models such as 3D Systems’ Sugar ChefJet would cost $5,000 to $10,000.
Bonus: Made in Ukraine
Recently, the first croud-publishing platform called Komubook was launched in Ukraine. Introducing the concept of crowdfunding to the publishing world, the closely-curated platform will work with famous books and authors not translated into Ukrainian yet.
The platform model is quite simple. You can choose and pre-order any of proposed books (currently, these are Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, A Scanner Darkly, Junkie, and Mrs Dalloway). As soon as funds are acquired, the book is published and sent to people who have invested in the project.
In fact, crowdfunding isn’t anything new. Unbound author Paul Kingsnorth describes, “The idea of funding books by subscriptions is actually something that was very popular in the 18th century. We’re really going back to a time before we had big, central publishers who were able to give writers big advances, and using the web to attract readers to a project.”