There may indeed come a day when printed books and magazines have been gone for so long, that nobody cares how little reading a digital document resembles reading one printed on paper. That day is not yet here, however - most of us still like our e-reading experience to be as close as possible to that of reading a book. To that end, this week a team from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) announced the development of new e-reading system, that brings several book-like capabilities to tablets and smartphones.
Called the Smart E-book System, the "algorithm-based conversion technology" incorporates the off-screen border area of touchscreen devices, which is known as the bezel. By placing a finger or thumb on the bezel then sliding it into the screen (or sliding it off the screen and onto the bezel), users can do things such as flipping through pages one at a time, or quickly riffling through whole sheaves of them - forwards or backwards.
They can also stick a finger on one page to bookmark it, continue flipping using another finger until they get to a different page that catches their interest, then cross-reference between the two pages by virtually folding the stack of intervening pages back and forth.
Other features that aren't necessarily book-like include the ability to control how many pages are flipped by varying either the number of fingers applied to the screen (two fingers for two pages, three for three, and so on), the speed of finger gestures, or the amount of time that the finger is applied. Other functions can be controlled through different types of finger gestures - drawing out a number, for instance, will take the user to the page bearing that number.
There is no word yet on whether any device manufacturers have expressed an interest in the KAIST technology.
The video below shows the Smart E-book System in use.