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SenseBooks will use iPhone-style proximity sensors

Lyndsay Williams — who has already developed the PC sound card, SmartQuill, and SenseCam — is now working on SenseBooks, and the first of a series will be published next year. SenseBooks are a hybrid of paper and computer intelligence, and will have MP3 quality audio from an ARM processor and a gigabyte of storage. Williams says SenseBooks “will know when the user picks up the book and looks at a page”.

A proximity sensor detects this and can light up pages or make music. What is also useful is the book has sensors to know what page it is on, can send a wireless message to a PC and open up a web page with more information on. Current applications include children’s teaching books, music books, cookery books etc.

Williams invented the motion sensing technology used in the iPhone for the SmartQuill, which she developed while working at BT’s research lab, before moving to Microsoft Research in Cambridge in 1998. SmartQuill “also covered face proximity detection, scrolling screen controlled by tilting and touch” and other features used in Apple’s iPhone. She says in an email:

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