A New Breed of Sheet Music

A research group at Mid Sweden University’s FiberScience and Communications Network are developing a fourth-generation ‘digital paper’ that can communicate with computers and provides a wafer-thin interactive interface. The digital paper combines electronically conductive, pressure sensitive ink with graphical codes to produce a surface that responds to touch and yet retains the consistency of normal paper.

They have used the technology to construct a ‘music display board’, which can be seen in this video. The surface of the paper features several album covers, and samples of music from each album can be activated by touch – the audio is then played through printed speakers directly on the paper itself. Although the functionality of this installation is nothing new, the means by which it is implemented is interesting. This could lead to a whole range of new media, such as websites being distributed as newspapers, or music magazines providing instant audio clips of bands. For the visually impaired, or for learning purposes, braille books could be accompanied by a vocal narration triggered by the reader’s touch.


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