Tag Archives: research

Flexible smartphone lets you flick pages of an ebook like pages of a printed book


Many applications that let you read ebooks on a tablet have a nice feature: when you tap the screen to turn the page, an animation mimics the way the page flips in a printed book. Now, researchers at Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab in Canada have developed a prototype smartphone that takes the concept a step further. They have demonstrated a smartphone that can be bent like a paperback book in order to quickly flick pages.

Take a look at the video that demonstrates how the flexible smartphone works:

Will this kind of device (smartphone, phablet, tablet, or ereader) be the future of reading ebooks? This is not a must-have feature, but like a gimmick that is nice to have. You can test your desire by asking yourself: Would I be willing to pay extra just to get this feature?

Anything mechanical that has moving parts on an electronic device makes the product more expensive, and multiplies the risks for breakdowns. Flexible screen has its use cases, but it is likely to be way more expensive than an ordinary OLED or LCD screen.

Researcher Roel Vertegaal told Independent: “This represents a completely new way of physical interaction with flexible smartphones. When a user plays the Angry Birds game with ReFlex, they bend the screen to stretch the sling shot. As the rubber band expands, users experience vibrations that simulate those of a real stretching rubber band. When released, the band snaps, sending a jolt through the phone and sending the bird flying across the screen.”

Doing research for a book? A vast newsreel video archive can help you


Traditionally, authors doing research for their books visited a library or an archive in order to collect information on the topic of the book. Then, (fortunately) the world-wide-web and the Internet brought vast amounts of information (and misinformation) directly to authors’ desks. It only gets better: news organizations that have reported more than hundred years about the events of the world have opened their video news archives on YouTube.
british movietone newsreel archive, titanic
The Associated Press and British Movietone have posted more than 1 million minutes of digitized film footage to YouTube. The moments, people and events that shaped the world can be explored at the comfort of researcher’s own desk. The YouTube channels include more than 550,000 video stories dating from 1895 to the present day.

British Movietone’s newsreel archive spans the period 1895 – 1986. Shot on 35mm film, this archive contains many of the world’s iconic images, news events, celebrities, sports, music, social history, science, lifestyle and funny moments.

British Movietone news video archive.
Recent events can be viewed at AP’s YouTube channel.

Ebooks Are Top 5 Digital Content Type for All Age Groups


Young generations didn’t grow with printed newspapers, magazines or books, but a mobile phone firmly attached to their hands. It is not a big surprise that the Millennial generation consumes media content on their smartphones whereas Baby Boomers rely on desktops, laptops and even traditional media. Somewhat surprising is, however, that the types of digital content that different age groups like to consume on their computers and mobile devices are almost the same with ebooks at 4th.

The top 4 most consumed content type on a PC and on a mobile device is exactly the same for all generations:
1. Blogs
2. Images
4. Ebooks
The fifth most consumed content type for Millennials is audiobooks, case studies for Generation X, and reviews for Baby Boomers.

digital content types by age group, buzzstream

The survey was conducted by BuzzStream and Fractl who surveyed over 1200 individuals, and classified them into three age groups: Millennials (born between 1977 and 1995), Generation Xers (born between 1965 and 1976), and Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964).

Another, even larger media study was recently conducted by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. The Digital News Report 2015 – Tracking the Future News surveyed over 20 000 people in 12 countries, focusing on differences in news access between digital and traditional media and between age groups.

The research by Reuters indicates that 45 years is the dividing age in media culture. People who are younger than 45 rely on online news sources, whereas people older than 45 primarily get their news from television.

news sources by age, Reuters
Reuters also discovered that in many countries the Internet already is the primary source for news for all age groups on average. People in Finland, Australia, Denmark, Ireland, USA and Brasil specified the Internet as their number one news media source.

main news sources for media users, Reuters

The Secret of the Bridge of Avignon in France


Scientists are not always trying to invent new things, because there is a lot we can learn from history as well. For years, historians, archeologists, architects, geologists and engineers have searched the archives, researched the Rhône river and its banks, calculated the river flow, the strength of old constructions and modeled 3D designs of the bridge of Avignon in Southern France.
avignon bridge 3D model, middle ages
The Bridge of Avignon – in France, known as Pont Saint Bénezet or Pont d’Avignon – is one of the most famous historical bridges in the world. It was originally constructed in the 12th century. The bridge – over 900 meters / 980 yards long – led over river Rhône. After the construction, strong currents and spates of Rhône destroyed the bridge. It was re-built a few times until in the 17th century people gave up, letting the river claim its space.

The remaining part of the bridge on the Avignon side of the river can be visited even today.

The mystery the researchers are trying to solve is how the bridge was built in the 12th century. Modern technology, like drones, measurement devices, computers and 3D modeling applications are exploited by researchers who have pretty good idea how

View the lovely (French) video that shows how researchers are trying to solve the secret and how the bridge did look like in the Middle Ages.

Pont d'Avignon : la traversée du temps by CNRS

Via Le Monde.

If you are planning to travel to southern France, take a look at the visual travel guide that shows you the best places to visit.

Avignon is a highly recommended destination to visit – not only because of the bridge but because the whole town is a wonderful place to explore by foot, full of fascinating history. Here are a few photos.

avignon france old town

avignon france old town

avignon france old town

Research: Tablets Have a Positive Impact on Studies


A few years ago, the University of Illinois conducted an experiment that was doomed to fail. University students received Apple iPad tablets with instructions to use them for their studies. The students didn’t get any other instructions, tools, or support. Yet, the experiment was a success.
Apple ipad tablet benefits studying
The experiment was conducted in 2011, but reported in late 2014. Every student of the Master of Science program received an iPad from the school. Students were only told that they were supposed to use the tablets to study more effectively. No restrictions or locks were installed in tablets by the university. The university didn’t have any educational IT system integrated with tablets, but intranet was available just like for PCs.

The survey participants were 22—43 old students of the same Master of Science program.

Illinois University, tablet study

The key conclusions in the report are as follows.
1. Students increased their communication with the lecturers and fellow students. The use of email, searching information from the intranet and downloading study material increased as well.

2. Tablets replaced pen and paper as the primary note taking method for majority of students. Assignments that required writing were still carried out on a laptop computer.

3. The students regarded tablets complementary to PCs.

When the experiment ended, 80% of the students said they have no problems with on-screen reading, and they rarely print material.

The Third Wave of Media Will Wipe Out Old Media


US-based consultancy Bain & Company has conducted a comprehensive interview of consumers in order to understand the trends in media industry. The conclusion of the report is that the third wave of media will wipe out traditional analog media surprisingly fast.

Bain & Company, Generation Hashtag

The three waves of media:

1. Physical media, like printed book or newspaper, CD or DVD.
2. Content converted to digital, such as downloadable ebooks, MP3-music, game apps.
3. Originally digital content, like Scribd, Oyster, Spotify and Netflix.

Bain & Company, Generation Hashtag

Infographics by Bain & Company:

Bain & Company, Generation Hashtag